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Weston leaders say state aid reductions to blame for bus referendum


WESTON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Weston village leaders will be going to referendum to raise funding for bus service, but are putting the blame for that on changes to state aid.

Village administrator Dan Guild announced on Tuesday that village residents will be voting on a $60,000 tax increase referendum in November. That would raise the taxes on the average home around 10 dollars to pay for bus services into the future.

Guild says the village board could already have voted away the bus service. "However, recognizing the fact that this has been a very vocal community issue, that there's a lot of strong opinions about this, they felt that it was important that the community should have an opportunity to weigh in on this again."

However, Guild went on to point out that Weston has been getting hit hard by both the state's tax levy limits and major reductions in state aid. Guild says Weston has suffered more cuts in state aid sharing than comparable communities across Wisconsin. "The Weston community has been on the losing end of this spectrum, which has impacted our ability to provide services more so than other communities."

Thanks to state levy limits, Weston will only be able to raise overall taxes in the village by around $50,000 this year. Since 2000, Weston has seen a 28 percent drop in state shared revenue while population in the village has gone up 24 percent. Guild says that's forced the village to cut spending on many services and led to the closure of the bus route in the first place.

If the levy limit referendum does pass, that will change the base levy for the village and help pay for more services into the future. "This readjusts our base permanently so that future growth and new construction in the village goes beyond that. So this would provide for resources to fund resources to fund transportation ongoing into the near future." Guild says that could also mean more spending on things like roads and police.

There is a copy of the village's handout on funding and the shared material attached to the story at the top of the page.