While some in Waunakee are alarmed by the village’s growth, the village administrator said to him it seems “manageable and moderate.”
Todd Schmidt gave a State of Our Village talk at the Oct. 12 Rotary meeting, a talk he plans to give about every two years, he said, adding this may be the first one ever. He noted that by 2040, the village’s population is projected to be 17,530.
Right now it’s just over 13,500, and when the village was first founded in 1870, about 200 people lived here.
Todd noted that so far in 2017, 82 building permits have been issued, similar to the number in recent years.
But the growth has brought with it more for the village to maintain. In 2012, the public works department had 58 miles of streets to plow; today it plows 64 miles of streets.
The number of acres of parkland to be maintained in 2015 was 216.50 acres, up from 192.13 in 2012. Todd said that doesn’t include conservancies, which require little maintenance.
That’s led to an increase in village staff, and Todd said in 2018, four more hires are planned, all justifiable.
Todd talked a little about the village’s finances. He reminded the club that the state collects sales taxes then returns funds to municipalities through shared revenue aids. Apparently the sharing process has been forgotten by the Legislature, Todd said, noting that in 2006, the village received $325,451 in shared revenue, as opposed to $153,920 in 2015.
Waunakee’s property values have continued to rise, and now total $1.6 billion with manufacturing, commercial and residential, a nearly 200 percent increase since 2000. Todd said the village adds between $30 million to $60 million per year of value annually in new construction.
Todd showed a diagram indicating the village’s portion of a resident’s tax bill. Fifty-three percent of the property tax goes to the school district, 28 percent to the village, 14 percent to Dane County, 4 percent to MATC and 1 percent to the state.
The village’s tax rate has actually declined in recent years, he said, while the general fund expenses have risen 2.9 percent.
Todd showed comparisons with other municipalities that indicate Waunakee’s spending ranks lower or in the middle. Its tax rate of $21.51 is lower than the average rate of $22.62.
The village does rank higher than other municipalities in borrowing, but Todd indicated that while state policy requires municipalities to limit their borrowing to 5 percent of the total property value, the village’s policy limits borrowing to half that. Its bond rating is at Aa2, the highest it can be without increasing the population.
Several new developments are underway in Waunakee, including At Home Assisted Living, Rainbow Daycare and Animart in Kilkenny Farms, the Hovde redevelopment along E. Main Street, and the new library. Arboretum Village will be another residential development east of the Arboretum Office Park, Woodland West will include residential and commercial on the west side of Hwy. Q, and activity can be seen in the Waunakee business park and Arboretum Office Park.
While Todd said he hears some opposed to growth, he sees the village where he has settled with his family differently.
“Waunakee is where people want to be,” he said. “I don’t want to live or work in a community where people don’t want to be.”
Other news:
–A polio event is planned at the Capitol starting at 4 p.m. Oct. 24.
–President Jim Kattner presented Drew Lawrence with a Paul Harris Plus 2 award.
 Guests: Caitlyn ??, guest of Kim Langfeld.
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Birthdays: Oct. 21, Linda Olson; Oct. 25, Tyler Knowles.
Anniversaries: Oct. 19, David and Candace May.
Greeters: Oct. 19, Nicholas Mischler and Shelley Moffatt; Oct. 26, Richard Murphy and Ed Niebuhr; Nov. 2, George Ohlendorf and Joe Olson.