Town Expects Budget to be Back in Black

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Kevin Murphy

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–The Town of Middleton will not need to draw on its cash reserves to finish the 2020 budget year, Treasurer Megan Hughes told the town board Monday night.

The 2020 budget approved in late 2019, allocated $270,981 from cash reserves “to backfill” an income deficit caused by projected expenses exceeding revenue, said then Town Administrator Greg DiMicelli at the time.

Hughes reported on finances only through Nov. 30 so, December expenses and revenue still have to be totaled, and the audit won’t begin until February. However, it appears that trend of using cash reserves to balance the budget won’t occur in 2019, Hughes said.

“We won’t be touching our reserves this year (2019) because we didn’t have some the expenses we expected,” she added.

Specifically, the storm water detention pond proposed for an out lot at Stonebrook Estates wasn’t built because Dane County wouldn’t approve a grant over a continuing easement dispute. Also, some of the salaries are lower, some road maintenance costs were lower than projected, and a repair to the spillway in the Pope Farm Conservancy was deferred.

Revenue came from unexpected sources, including, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) which wasn’t enacted until June. 

Some revenue was budgeted prematurely, including park fees from the Pioneer Pointe subdivision, which won’t be payable for another four or five years, said Hughes.

So, accustom to drawing on the multi-million, dollar cash reserves in drafting an operating budget, Board Supervisors needed to hear it put several ways before they were satisfied that the town’s 2019 finances would be in the black.

“That is fantastic,” said Town Chair Cynthia Richson.

The current budget surplus should narrow when all of December’s expenses are tabulated, Hughes said, which includes a bill from Middleton EMS and three pay periods. 

The board unanimously approved the design of the reconstruction of Bronner Road. The project extends from just south of Ellington Way through the Stonebrook Circle intersection. 

The two traffic lanes will be widened by a foot each, the road will be recontoured to improve sight lines for pedestrians using a trail crossing, shoulders will be widened and drainage improved.

A discussion about further widening and paving the shoulders to accommodate a bike lane resulted in Town Engineer Rod Zubella agreeing to provide a cost estimate to the Public Works Committee which meets this week.

The project is estimated at $575,000.

Monday’s approval allows the project to be bid this winter and construction scheduled for May 1 to Aug. 1.

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