Council raises mill rate by 28 cents
By Bert Lehman
At a special Clintonville City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 16, the city council approved a 2016 city budget that includes a 28 cent increase per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The vote was 9-0. Alderwoman Amy Steenbock was excused from the meeting.
The total levy is $1.98 million.
The budget includes a 3.5 percent wage increase for all non-represented city employees, and requires city employees to contribute more to their health insurance.
Non-represented city employees will be required to pay the first $500 of their Health Savings Account (HSA) deductible and the first $500 of the Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) deductible.
“This health insurance policy change will save the city a minimum of $12,500 in 2016 and it likely will be considerably more than this depending on employee usage of their health insurance plan,” said City Administrator Chuck Kell in a proposed budget summary and analysis memo provided to the council.
The hiring of employees for new positions is not included the budget.
To balance the budget, $55,051 from the city’s undesignated fund balance will be used. The fund balance was at $1,165,639 at the end of 2014, which equates to 31 percent of the city’s annual expenditure budget.
In the memo, Kell said this “provides the city with excellent protection and flexibility in the event it is needed as a ‘rainy day’ insurance policy or for use to address unanticipated needs as the city proceeds through next year.”
Kell said a common and conservative fiscal policy is for a city to maintain a minimum fund balance of 25 percent of the annual expenditure budget.
Not using any funds from fund balance would have required a tax increase of 54 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The total debt service in the 2016 budget is $1,145,141. The tax levy is scheduled to cover $757,253 of the total amount. The remaining balance will be paid by collection of special assessments, T.I.D. increment, and utility user fees.
Kell acknowledged in the memo that the city will need to borrow additional funds in 2016 to fund some of the 2016 Capital Improvement Program and to construct the new wastewater treatment plant.
The budget is also below the Expenditure Restraint Limit, which will qualify the city for approximately $80,000 of Expenditure Restraint revenues from the state of Wisconsin in 2017.
Kell also stated in the memo that the utility budgets and rates are still being evaluated for 2016.
“Sewer rates we know will need to be increased to fund the construction of the new wastewater treatment plant,” Kell said in the memo. “Electric rates are still under study by the city’s auditors, Schenck, SC. Water rate increases in 2016 were expected, but now that a new municipal well may not be needed or at a minimum will be delayed, these rate increases may not be necessary in 2016.”