Village of Lake Hallie hosts informational meeting on spring election referendums

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:13 PM CDT
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LAKE HALLIE, Wis. (WEAU) -With the spring election on April 4, voters in the Village of Lake Hallie will see two local referendums on the ballot.

As voters prepare to hit the polls, the village hosted a meeting to give community members a chance to learn about those referendum questions.

Gary Spilde, the Village Board President, said the referendums are needed because of levy limits imposed by the state.

“Our levy is only allowed to increase this year by 2.33% based on state statute, so in our case, that’s a little under $50,000,” Spilde said.

The first question looks to generate $110,000 to cover law enforcement expenses including adding a 12th full-time police officer.

“We pay a lot of overtime because the part-time officers, I’m down to one,” said Edward Orgon, the Lake Hallie Police Chief. “He has a full-time job, and he can only do what he can do, and the part-time program is kind of going away.”

Orgon said since 2010, his department has trained over 20 part-time officers who have left for full-time jobs.

“I’m going to train officers part-time for them to leave three to six months later, and then I got to do it all over again, so a 12th full-time officer is invested in the village, in their career and the police department because they have a stay because they are a full-time officer,” Orgon said.

Orgon also said the number of calls for service are increasing. In 2021, the police department responded to 4,531 calls. Last year, that number went up to 5,153.

While the first referendum question hopes to address some of the police department’s needs, the second measure looks to raise a total of $700,000.

Part of that money is earmarked for public safety debt service.

“That is our ongoing payment for our fire department for our fire trucks,” Spilde said. “We have about close to $1 million we pay to support the fire department, the fire district.”

Spilde said most of the money raised, though, would be spent on road projects. To fix the roads the village plans to in the next five years, Spilde said it’ll cost around $5 million.

“We’re not going to get there with what we’re asking for, but at least it’s a step in the right direction,” Spilde said.

If both referendums pass, Spilde said it won’t impact your taxes. That’s because they will replace the debt the village was paying for the municipal building.

If approved, financing for the referendums would begin in 2024. Both measures are ongoing meaning they don’t have a specific end date.