The news about the city budget wasn’t good when the city’s Finance Committee met, Tuesday, Sept. 23.
“It’s not a good picture that comes out of this,” said committee chairman Mark Doornink.
Doornink said the city is expecting to lose $88,000 in revenue from the state of Wisconsin.
On the expense side, Doornink said the city’s health insurance is estimated to increase by as much as 38 percent. At the meeting he did not say why the city’s health insurance might increase that much. In a follow-up interview with the Clintonville Tribune Gazette, Doornink said he wasn’t at will to share why the insurance might increase that much.
He said health insurance increases have happened to the city in the past. In those cases, the city shopped around for a better price for its health insurance. He added that normally that shopping would have taken place over the last month or month and a half.
Since the city administrator was placed on leave by the council during that time, nobody shopped around for better health insurance prices, Doornink said.
Doornink said he wasn’t sure if it was too late to look for a less expensive insurance plan.
When asked if city employees would have to pay more of their health insurance premium to cover some of the increase, Doornink said, “Nothing is off the table.”
He added that a couple of years ago the city faced a $270,000 budget shortfall and 65 percent of that was made up by city employees paying more for their health insurance and other items.
At the committee meeting, he told committee members the city’s expenses could increase by as much as $60,000 when it takes over operations of Graceland Cemetery. In a follow-up interview, Doornink told the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette that figure would probably be $7,000-$10,000. He said the original figure he cited didn’t take into account the revenue the cemetery brings in.
The cemetery expenses will be split between the park & recreation and the street budgets.
The administrative expense increase for the cemetery is estimated to be $1,500.
Doornink said the city will also have to pay former City Administrator Lisa Kotter $36,835 in 2015 as part of the Resignation Agreement the city negotiated with Kotter.
Another new expense in 2015 is $10,839 for Waupaca PTF Assessment.
There are other increases in expenses expected, but estimates were not available at the meeting.
“We have some tough decisions coming up,” Doornink said.
He said it was tough two years ago when the city had to come up with $270,000.
“We need to be focusing on what we have to provide here,” he said.
He acknowledged there may be good projects that residents want to see done but the city may not have money for them.
“With this dollar amount, unfortunately there may be a loss of service to the taxpayer to make up that difference,” Doornink said.
He added, “I wanted to get this out here so everybody could understand and realize the seriousness of this issue.”
Earlier in the meeting, Clintonville Fire Chief Shane Krueger addressed the committee about the fire department’s budget.
“My largest concerns taking over the budget have been apparatus and maintenance, their costs, and adequately having a budget to allow for those repair costs to be a little bit more realistic,” Krueger said.
Krueger said the department has received money this year for fire gear and pagers, but money needs to be budgeted every year for those items.
“Those are things that we have to have in our budget and start buying and purchasing in small doses rather than expecting to purchase $100,000 of turnout gear all in one lump sum. If we can put that in the budget and plan accordingly we can get into a replacement schedule,” Krueger said.
He added that the department has been fortunate to receive grant money for turnout gear and equipment, but that won’t always be the case.
“Grants won’t replace stuff you’ve already gotten on grants,” Krueger said. “That’s a big no-no. We’re not going to receive a grant to replace the turnout gear. They already gave us one.”
The Finance Committee will continue to discuss the 2015 budget over the coming weeks.