WAUSAU — The Wausau Town Council voted Thursday to seek two $200,000 grants for improvements to two city parks.
David Fox of Fred Fox Enterprises presented the proposals to the council, including the repairs and improvements the town’s recreation committee would like to see completed with the grant funds.
The grants are Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program grants, Fox said.
“This isn’t going to cost the city anything, is it?” Mayor B.J. Phillips asked.
“The city qualifies for these grants, and there is no matching money required,” Fox told the council. The deadline for submission of applications is Sept. 30 and the town will know if they will receive the grants mid-2014, Fox said.
One $200,000 grant would be used to improve the Dalton Carter Recreation Center, also known as the Possum Palace, where the city would like to resurface the parking lot, renovate the tennis courts, picnic facilities, basketball courts and restrooms, add an exercise trail, upgrade the camping area, and add additional playground equipment among other improvements.
The other $200,000 would go toward improvements at George Rogers Park, where the city hopes to renovate the playground, enhance the handicapped parking area, and renovate the restrooms, picnic facilities and baseball field. The recreation committee would also like to add additional playground equipment, a basketball court, additional parking at the Skateboard Park, an exercise trail and a covered picnic facility, as well as expand the Skateboard Park.
“George Rogers Park was a complete washout,” Phillips said. During the recent flooding episodes in Washington County, much of the baseball field was washed away, and one of the park fences nearly collapsed.
The council voted to allow Fred Fox Enterprises to pursue the grants on the town’s behalf.
Prior to the town council meeting, the council members held a workshop to discuss the 2013-14 budget. The council voted to approve the proposed budget of $324,050, and the town council will hold a final public hearing to adopt the budget at 5:05 p.m. on Sept. 26.
Clerk Margaret Riley noted that water rates will increase 3.2 percent in October, which will be reflected on the city’s water bills issued in November.
Riley said the income this year was the same as last year, except this year’s budget has raises of 3 to 5 percent for the town’s maintenance department employees.
“The state retirement is up significantly this year,” Riley told the council. “It’s sky-high and out of the ceiling, but we have to pay it.” The city will pay $7,000 to the state retirement system in 2013-14, which is the third highest expense in the general funds budget that the city pays, topped only by payroll ($33,640) and health insurance ($7,600).
“The county has cut the fire department another $1,000,” Riley added, “but all in all the budget is balanced.”