Village of Wrightstown approves tax collection agreement with Brown County

Brian Roebke photo
The Village of Wrightstown has spruced up public areas in the village this spring, including placing new woodchips around trees in roundabouts.

By Brian Roebke
The saga of the Intergovern-mental 2021-22 Property Tax Bill Preparation, Mailing and Collection Agreement continues between Brown County and municipalities in the county.
Wrightstown village board members approved the agreement knowing there could be more changes coming again.
Clerk-Treasurer Michelle Seidl ran the board through the twists and turns of the agreement over the past several months. “There’s quite a bit of controversy at the Brown County level regarding this,” she said. “There’s been a lot of questions with no answers.”
Brown County Treasurer Paul Zeller indicated he no longer wanted to collect payments from municipalities because it’s not required by state statute despite the county collecting for several years, with the municipalities really liking that setup.
Seidl contacted the software company the county uses to find what the village’s expense would be to hook up with them and use the software so the village could start collecting and was told the cost for the first year would be $3,000 for the purchase, installation, and training of the software and $1,500 for the yearly licensing fee.
“When those costs started coming out there’s 23 Brown County municipalities right now that are having Brown County collect for them and it raised a lot of ire because the smaller municipalities couldn’t afford it and that type of thing,” Seidl said.
The county then came back, saying they would charge $1,500 so Seidl was thinking Brown County was going to put some money toward this because they were trying to help with the transition. However, Seidl said it blew up when they discovered that really wasn’t the case either.
“Now there’s so much going on back and forth that the majority of the municipalities other than the towns are committing to probably just doing it themselves because they don’t want to deal with this situation with the county anymore,” Seidl said.
County board members started to get involved because they’ve found out the treasurer’s department was not forthcoming with information to the municipalities.
“So we’re really stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Seidl said.
The $1,500 cost will only be a couple hundred dollars more to use Brown County based on the fact they don’t know if they’ll need extra staff to collect taxes.
“It probably would be more beneficial for us to let Brown County do it,” she said.
However, they don’t know what might happen the year after and municipalities could then need to jump through more hoops.
“It’s kind of a mess and I’m all over the place but we did a lot of talking on it,” she said.
Village Administrator Travis Coenen said if the cost stays in the $1.60 per parcel charge range and there’s not a larger fee next year, signing the agreement to have the county collect makes the most sense.
“Depending on what happens in this shakeout between the offices there we may or may not do it on our own,” he said.
“It makes so much sense to have it consolidated for everybody to utilize,” Seidl said.
She said the village is fortunate to be set up to take credit card payments because they have a utility but the Town of Green Bay needs to spend $900 for a credit card reader.
“As of today all of the towns are sticking with collection through Brown County except Holland and Ledgeview, and all of the villages are collecting themselves because there’s too much uncertainty of what’s going on,” she said.
The cities of Green Bay and De Pere, and villages of Denmark and Howard are already collecting their own taxes after taking the leap a few years ago.
Seidl said the City of Green Bay would prefer the county do the collections.
Coenen said it’s a customer service issue and the village feels this is the best way to do it. Theoretically the village could send the county a spreadsheet with information but there would be a lapse in time before the county records the payments and the village would be hearing from upset residents who don’t see their taxes being marked as paid on the county website.
Jonathon Schatz of Ehlers reported on the village’s sale of $2,665,000 in general obligation corporate purpose bonds, Series 2021A.
They took bids that morning and the cost was lowered $40,000 from the presale estimate of $2,705,000.
There were five bids, with the winning bid coming from Banker’s Bank of Madison, partnering with GreenLeaf Bank.
The low bid was 1.4517 percent interest, with a $40,950 difference in interest costs from the high to low bid.
The majority of the funds will pay for the Royal St. Patrick regional stormwater pond.
Related to finances, Jon Trautman from Clifton, Larson Allen presented the village’s financial report for 2020, with a clean opinion.
He said the village has a healthy fund balance, and they are in line with their peer group for utility health.
He noted they need to make fewer adjustments every year, and Coenen complimented Trautman and his staff for their work.
Coenen told board members of the United States Postal Service’s survey of village residents about the potential location of a building with 900 sq. ft. needed within the 54180 ZIP Code.
What he doesn’t like is it’s not “computer friendly,” requiring letters to be mailed to Greensboro, N.C.
He doesn’t think there will be much response from residents, but he will send a response on behalf of village government.
Board members approved a proclamation for May 2-8 as Professional Municipal Clerks Week., extending appreciation to village employees Michelle Seidl, Sheila Bowers, and Patti Leitermann.
Seidl reported that Lisa Kalscheur of Grit & Furrow paid off her first loan from the village, making a payment for $44,444.
The board approved the resignation of Zachary Gussert, who took a job in Little Chute more related to his interest in forestry.
In his Department of Public Works and Utilities report, Andy Vickman reported a lot of activity that’s happened in April.
Included were:
• Continue to work with utility contractors on utility installations in Royal St. Patrick’s development
• The village put a few items on the Wisconsin Surplus Auction and received $8,350
• Continue to finalize the design of Rosin Road prior to going out for bid
• Memorial benches were placed along the riverbank at Mueller Park
• Phase II of Mueller Park upgrade has started
• Finalizing details on the Fall Festival. Street market registrations have started coming in
• Reminder — Clean sweep curbside pickup is scheduled for Wednesday, May 26
• Placed new woodchips in village playgrounds, around trees and round-a-bouts
• Restoration completed at the Waupekun shelter building. We have received several inquiries on renting the out the shelter area
• Portable toilets have been delivered to the parks for the season
• Playground inspections, park cleanup completed at village parks
• Mueller Park opened to the public on April 27
• Meters installed and water turned on at the ball diamonds
• Started curbside chipping in the beginning of April
• Quarterly fire inspection completed at the village hall
• Restored areas from plow damage and replaced damage mailbox
• One nuisance violation letter sent out in April
• Seasonal laborer position job advertisement posted with first review of applications on May 12
• Picked up 15 trees from the First Downs for Trees program that will be planted throughout the village