Janesville76.1°

Average city tax up $17 in new budget

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Ann Fiore
October 19, 2007

The owner of an average Janesville home assessed at $112,700 would pay $17.70 more in city taxes next year under the city's proposed budget.


The proposed 2008 general fund budget is 3.3 percent bigger than this year's budget.


It maintains existing services but also includes more money for wages and health insurance, two more firefighter/paramedics, two new K-9 units for the police department and mowing an additional 18 acres in parks, among other things.


In a memo to the city council, City Manager Steve Sheiffer said the budget assumes a 4 percent increase in the tax levy. The city won't know its levy limit for sure until the Legislature passes the state budget.


Other assumptions include no increase in general transportation aid and a reduction in state shared revenue.


If the state budget numbers change, Sheiffer would amend the city's proposed budget.


Here are some highlights for 2008:


-- Projected 2008 general fund borrowing, $6.66 million.


The amount includes $1.5 million for property acquisition, $1 million for aquatics facility planning and implementation, $1 million for the first phase of Fire Station No. 1 construction and nearly $1.2 million for landfill maintenance and expansion.


-- Economic adjustments, $907,000.


This figure includes an estimated 3 percent wage increase for union and non-union employees, as well as merit and step increases for all employees covered by the general fund.


-- Health insurance, $456,000.


Health insurance costs are predicted to climb by 8.7 percent.


-- Two additional fire-fighter/paramedics, $109,922.


Hiring two new firefighter/paramedics is projected to save the city nearly $124,000 in overtime. In past budget discussions, the firefighters union and city staff argued over whether hiring more firefighters would save the city more than paying overtime.


-- Citywide revaluation, $97,542.


The city will undergo a property revaluation that must be finished by 2010. The budget figure covers staffing changes in the city assessor's office, additional training, contractual services and postage.


-- Two K-9 units for the police department, $34,814.


The city council July 23 approved one dog for the second shift. Police department staff had asked for funding before 2008 budget talks so the dog could be trained in December. In August, council President George Brunner suggested adding two more K-9 units to the 2008 budget so each shift would have a dog on duty.


-- Additional mowing for parks, 18 acres, $22,626.


The money would pay for additional mowing at 30-acre Lustig Park, which has a popular disc golf course, said Herb Stinski, director of administrative services. Council member Bill Truman raised the mowing issue this summer when disc golfers complained that the grass was too high.


Harmony Grove neighborhood park, located off John Paul Road, also would be mowed more as part of the first phase of development. Workers also would level the ground and eliminate weeds, but no equipment is scheduled to be installed yet.


-- Leaf collection transfer to stormwater utility budget, $132,270 less.


The general fund historically has paid for the fall leaf collection, but the collection actually keeps the stormwater system operating properly, Stinski said. That's why the city is transferring that cost to the stormwater utility.


The $63,285 cost to maintain the city's greenbelts, which collect stormwater, also will be transferred from the parks budget to the stormwater utility, Stinski said.


All properties in the city pay a stormwater utility fee, including those that are tax-exempt. Based on the budget changes, the average residential customer will see his city utility bill rise by about $1.82 per quarter for stormwater.


-- Other utilities.


The average customer would pay $2 more per quarter for the water utility and $5.59 more per quarter for the wastewater utility in 2008. The water utility increase, effective in spring, coincides with the new water tower and pumping station going online.


What's next

The 2008 budget will be presented to the city council at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers at City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St.


The council will hold up to three budget study sessions. They are at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24; Tuesday, Oct. 30, and Thursday, Nov. 1, if needed.


A public hearing on the budget usually is scheduled for the first council meeting in November, which this year is Monday, Nov. 12.


The council usually adopts the budget by its second November meeting, which would be Monday, Nov. 26.


The council will set the tax rate the last week of November.


2008 proposed Janesville City budget

A look at the proposed 2008 Janesville city budget.


Total general fund budget


Next year: $40.5 million


This year: $39.2 million


Increase: 3.3%


Tax levy (library included, TIF not included)


Next year: $26.5 million


This year: $25.4 million


Increase: 4.5%


Tax rate (with TIF)


(Per $1,000 of assessed valuation)


Next year: $8.03


This year: $7.88


Increase: 1.99%


Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.



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