Roscoe Township: low tax levies, good financial audit

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Township Attorney Tom Green and Trustee Pat Henderson (May 12, 2021 file photo)

At the Oct. 13 meeting, the Roscoe Township board reviewed and set tentative levies of $711,220 for fiscal year 2022, about $13,500 more than the previous year. The final vote will be held at the Nov. 10 board meeting. Though the levy is an estimate of total taxes for the township, it doesn't mean individual taxes will increase. In fact, when the Township board increased the levy by 2% last year, Roscoe Township taxes decreased, as they have been each year. Other parts of your property tax bill may have decreased since last year as well, such as school and county taxes. But many expenses haven't. The Township's health insurance went up a little over $10,000 this year.

Michael Phalin of Siepert & Company presented his independent auditor's report for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. He found no major issues or problems, but he said the Township needed a formal risk assessment policy and a formal accounting manual. He also noted that separation of duties should be improved. For example, accounts payable and accounts receivable ought to be handled by different people.  Dawn Cassady, administrative assistant to the supervisor, said that isn't possible in such a small office,  and Phalin agreed. "These notes appear in 95% of our audits," he said. 

Administrative assistant Mary Ryan said that she tends to be stricter on accounting rules, since she came from a larger company.  "I will not transfer money. Dawn transfers money. I will not transfer money if somebody is holding a gun to my head."

The Township Board approved the monthly expenses:

  • General town fund: $35,995
  • General road fund: $180,746
  • Cemetery fund: $8,871

Supervisor Bob Nowicki reported that the Township has $1,861,650.30 in total general funds and  $1,318,798.72 total road funds.

The tentative road levy ordinance was $810,000. Highway Commissioner Steve Schreier said, "My commitment to our folks and to our community, on the roads: unless I have to, I'm not going to increase the levy." His department is responsible for three bridges, which could cost a million dollars each to replace. So he saves up for future expenses. The Township's special bridge fund totals $555,532.05. He was able to repair the Hamborg Road bridge this year - 30% under budget and two weeks ahead of schedule - without asking for help from Winnebago County. If the Township ends up "tying ourselves to the county," he explains, "In short, I have to start owing them for helping us."

Schreier says that supply chain problems are affecting him. He is hoping his two new trucks will arrive before winter snows. He has two older trucks, but "I'm working overtime trying to fix them to keep them running." If the new trucks are delivered this year, he plans to keep them as backups during the winter and to sell them next summer.

The Township is all finished for the year with sealcoating and road construction, except for Dearborn Avenue, the access road that runs west of 251 from the state line to Rockton Road. The Township's responsibility begins at Prairie Hill. This is the second year they asked the County to bid on sealcoating. Previously 11 townships combined their resources, but the County can do it for the same price, about $31,000 a mile.

Ramaker & Associates out of Sauk City, WI, is using a drone to set up their improved cemetery management software for the Township, but the areas aren't coming out consistent. So administrative assistant Mary Ryan has been measuring and re-measuring. Trustee Chuck Gilbert volunteered to help.

Trustee Phil Rhymer asked to put the comprehensive plan for tree clearing at Founders Park on the Nov. 10 agenda. Packer Tree Service gave the low bid of $18,300 to do the work with a heavy excavator, using claws to pull out the roots. Local arborists don't have that equipment. But with great power comes great responsibility, and the Village of Roscoe, particularly Village Administrator Scott Sanders, wants to see a plan first. 

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