The city of Waupaca’s tax levy would increase 4.69 percent under the proposed 2011 city budget.
The Waupaca Common Council had its first look at the budget proposal last week, and a special council meeting was set for Tuesday, Sept. 28, for more discussion.
The proposed city tax levy of $3.36 million would support expenditures of about $7.1 million and is $150,918 more than the city’s present tax levy of $3.21 million.
The projected 2011 city mill rate is $10 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The present city mill rate is $9.47 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The tax bill that city residents will receive in December will include a total mill rate that is made up of the tax rates of the city, county, school district, Fox Valley Technical College and the state.
“There is still some information we don’t know that could impact (the budget,),” said City Administrator Henry Veleker.
That includes the city’s health insurance renewal and the city’s assessment ratio.
“We budgeted an 11 percent increase. We had proposed a renewal increase of about 9 percent in July,” Veleker said about the city’s possible health insurance increase. “We won’t know until probably mid-October what that number will be.”
And, it will be around the end of October that the city learns what its official assessment ratio is – a number that is necessary in order to calculate the city’s 2011 mill rate.
Between the common council’s first look at the budget last week and the special council meeting held this week, Veleker and City Treasurer Jean Peterson worked with Mayor Brian Smith to bring forth this latest budget proposal.
Included is additional work related to the distressed Tax Incremental Financing district financing. The initial budget proposal included an estimated $150,000 in savings by refinancing TIF District No. 8 debt.
Veleker said an analysis by the city’s financial advisers showed that the city could realize an additional interest cost savings of $62,000 by also refinancing the debt in TIF districts 6,7 and 10, he said.
The 2011 city budget proposal also calls for present staffing vacancies to be filled. The city is currently down four positions.
The city has been without an economic development director since August 2009, without a maintenance custodian since the fall of 2009, without a park and recreation administrative assistant since early 2010, and without a park and recreation director since May of this year.
“I think that every time we have a vacancy in the city of a full-time position, it gives us time to evaluate what we’re doing and the ability to make changes if it makes sense for the best of the organization,” Veleker said.
He said that staff – with input from the mayor – took those four positions and looked at how each of those positions could be filled.
“Cost was a consideration but not the No. 1 driver,” Veleker said. “However, we do achieve a cost reduction for those four positions over what was budgeted in 2009. If the council accepts the plan, we have the ability to try a couple new things that would be beneficial to the city.”
Veleker estimates that the staffing plan would add $7,400 to the 2011 city budget over the 2010 city budget to fund the plan for an entire year.
One of the new things under consideration is consolidation of the city’s facility management function into one area.
Currently, the facilities management of each of the city’s three major buildings – city hall and library, park and recreation center, and police station – are handled by different departments, he said.
The other piece – if accepted by the common council – would be to get the economic development function of the city back.
Currently, Veleker and Director of Public Works John Edlebeck are tag teaming this area.
The proposal also calls for the city’s parks function to move from the Parks and Recreation Department to the Public Works Department and for the city to hire a recreation director instead of a parks and recreation director.
Veleker said the job of the recreation director would then be to see to it that all of the city’s recreation facilities – from the recreation center to the parks – are being fully utilized.
Wellness and volunteer programs would also be key responsibilities of the recreation director.
“We would take the parks function away, but I think we can backfill it with other opportunities. The position would be aggressive in reaching out to non-city organizations to put on programs,” he said.