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Final public hearing on 2011 city budget set

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
Saturday, November 20, 2010
— One city councilman wants residents to be aware of a reduction and fee increase the council is proposing in the 2011 budget.

Councilman Yuri Rashkin said he doesn't agree with the planned two-hour reduction in aquatic facility hours or with fee increases at the Janesville Senior Center. He is urging residents who agree with him to contact council members or attend a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday.


At the first public hearing on the budget this month, Rashkin made a motion to restore pool hours that would be cut. However, no other council members seconded the motion.


Rashkin said he feels so strongly about the issue that he'll give it another try Monday.


Reducing pool hours by two hours a day will save about $15,000. The council could keep the two wading pools open for those hours at a cost of about $6,000.


That's about 20 cents per household, Rashkin said.


"This amount surely will seem small in comparison with the disappointment and frustration felt by children and families when, in the middle of the summer, our pools will open later and shut down at 6 p.m.?


"After all, what is the point of having these facilities and spending money to repair them if we are not going to keep the pools open and fully accessible to the residents?"


If nobody else agrees even when he brings it to people's attention, "then the people have spoken," he said.


Rashkin said he also disagrees with a planned fee increase at the senior center. The budget includes a mandatory $25 annual fee—up from a voluntary $15 fee charged last year. The seniors were OK with that bump, but they asked the council to eliminate program fees.


City Manager Eric Levitt said the reduction in aquatics and increase in senior center fees were suggested because council members requested staff find ways to find ways to reduce the city's recreational subsidies.


Levitt noted the program fee at the Boys and Girls Club is $30 a year.


In the 2011 budget, the cost to run the senior center would be $275,000, with a city subsidy of $182,240. Those two areas also did not show high support from residents who completed a recent "budget scorecard" the city provided.


Levitt said city staff spread reductions in services and increases in fees throughout all city departments.


The 2011 municipal and library budget has a .46-percent increase in expenditures, a 2.3-percent increase in the tax levy and a 1.64-percent increase in the tax rate.


Under the proposed budget, the owner of the average Janesville home assessed at $114,000 will pay $955 for city and library services. That's an increase of $16, or 1.7 percent. The budget also includes a new $40 fee to pay for garbage pickup.


IF YOU GO

The Janesville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St. Items on the agenda include:


-- A public hearing on the 2011 city and library budgets.


-- Action to approve a 10-year payback period for SARA Investment Real Estate for the cost to extend water and sewer mains and road improvements for a new building to serve Home Health United, a home health care equipment supplier.


The building will be located at the southeast corner of Racine Street and Wright Road. The normal payback period is five years. SARA Investment is allowing the city to extend the water distribution network not only for its present project but the entire length of its yet undeveloped landholdings bordering Racine Street from Wright Road to Wuthering Hills Drive. This will significantly improve the water system, city staff said. Funds from TIF 32 will be used to pay the $309,897 in costs.


-- Approve a memorandum of understanding with the town of Rock. The agreement would allow lands west of the Highway 11 bypass to be eligible for the Rock County Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement Program—PACE. Under the proposed PACE program, lands west of the bypass would be ineligible for the program.


But the Highway 11 Bypass agreement with the city recognized those lands should be preserved for agricultural purposes from premature development. In addition, the comprehensive plans of both the city and the town show those areas as being zoned for agriculture. City Manager Eric Levitt believes this is consistent with the intent of the 1992 agreement.


Last updated: 3:25 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012


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