The following non-binding referendum question will appear on the February 20, 2018 ballot:
Should the Town of Cedar Lake eliminate optional law enforcement coverage? YES or NO?
A “YES” vote means you favor ELIMITATING optional law enforcement coverage.
A “NO” vote means you favor RETAINING optional law enforcement coverage with a potential tax increase.
Facts related to the non-binding referendum
For the past 15+ years the Town of Cedar Lake has paid for optional police coverage above what is already provided through the Barron County Sheriff’s Department and your property taxes. Since 2011, the optional Four Corners Police Department (FCPD) police coverage has come at the expense of much needed maintenance of township roads. Town of Cedar Lake operating costs have increased during the past two years to the point where the township must either eliminate optional spending or increase taxes.
- A review of all Town of Cedar Lake budget line items was conducted in May of 2017. Expenses exceeded revenue and cost saving measures were implemented.
- The township is currently without a reserve fund.
- In 2017, the Town of Cedar Lake spent $86,163 in road maintenance (excluding equipment payments) and $100,000 in optional Police coverage (excluding police vehicle payment).
- Town of Cedar Lake’s 2017 township budget was $563,794. The 2018 township budget (with the maximum allowable tax levy limit increase of $2,497) will be $566,291.
- A fleet of new vehicles was purchased in 2016 with 5 and 10 year promissory notes. 2018 debt service on all promissory notes is $137,098.
- Seven entities belong to the Birchwood Four Corners Emergency Services District (BFCESD). Town of Cedar Lake, Town of Birchwood, Village of Birchwood, Town of Long Lake, Town of Edgewater, Town of Wilson, and Town of Doyle. The Town of Cedar Lake is responsible for 32% of all expenses incurred by the BFCESD.
- Town of Cedar Lake’s cost share for fire and ambulance support provided by the BFCESD was $98,542 in 2017. The 2018 cost share will be $105,116, an increase of $6,574.
- A new fire engine was purchased in 2017. Town of Cedar Lake’s cost share was $70,000.
- Town of Cedar Lake residents will be asked to pay 32% of loan costs related to the construction of a new BFCESD fire hall projected to begin in 2019.
- The FCPD was formed in 2011. The option to provide coverage and cost share expenses was offered to all members of the BFCESD. To date, no other entity has chosen to participate.
- Annual costs related to the FCPD have been reduced to $100,000 per year. The 2017 Town of Cedar Lake tax jurisdiction amount, payable in 2018, is $566,291. Eighteen percent of Township taxes will be required to fund the FCPD ($100,000 divided by $566,291 = 18%).
- If optional police coverage is retained, the township could require a tax increase of approximately $37 per $100,000 in assessed property value.
- The Town of Edgewater pays the Village of Birchwood $30,000 per year for 12 hours per week in optional police coverage. From 2011 through 2016, the Town of Cedar Lake has paid an average of $120,000 per year for 40 hours per week in optional police coverage.
- There are 25 townships in Barron County and Cedar Lake is the only township with a stand-alone police department.
- Based on information received from the Barron County Dispatch Center, in 2017 there was no difference in crime reported when our FCPD Officer was on duty compared to when the Sheriff’s Department responded to calls.
If you have questions, please visit our website at www.townofcedarlake.org or contact the following individuals:
Chairman Ken Leners, 612.710.3030, email@example.com
Supervisor Tony Wolff, 715.296.7388, firstname.lastname@example.org
Supervisor Kory Weiss, 715.651.1444, email@example.com