No final decisions on 2018 budget
By Bert Lehman
As the city of Clintonville continues to work through the process of finalizing its 2018 budget, more questions than answers were discussed at the Nov. 1 Finance Committee meeting.
At that meeting, Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland told the committee that she is trying to get an accurate assessment of the city’s tax rate. When the preliminary budget was put together the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s equalized value number from last year was used.
“My concern right now is the numbers I have are not an accurate reflection of what the tax rate is to the individual property owner,” Eveland said.
She said she is currently working with Ehlers to resolve this. Ehlers is the city’s financial advisor.
“My concern right now is that the numbers that I have, I cannot give you an accurate tax rate because of this confusion over equalized versus assessed versus TID in and TID out,” Eveland said.
Because of that, Eveland told the committee that additional cuts to the budget that was originally presented might be required.
“In order to not increase taxes, based on my understanding currently, we would have to cut like an additional $80,000 to $100,000 from the total levy so that there is not an increase to taxpayers,” Eveland said. “But again, I’m still trying to grasp [everything] because I’m not sure that the tax rate that we were using last year was 100 percent accurate.”
Based on this information, committee member Lance Bagstad said he didn’t think the committee could give direction regarding the budget until the city knows what the accurate numbers are to use to determine the tax rate for property owners.
When discussing the budget in general terms, Eveland told the committee the city is expected to see an increase of about $15,000 in its transportation aid from the state of Wisconsin.
Even with a mandatory wage increase for the unionized members of the Clintonville Police Department, Eveland said the expenditures for the city’s police protection in the budget went down by $12,000.
Eveland also stated she has a goal of moving at least one item per year from the capital budget to the operating budget if that is where it truly belongs.
Expenditures for the Public Works Department increased in the budget over last year, in part because employees in the department are going to be part of a safety program in 2018, and an employee who retired is using his sick leave conversion for his health insurance.
Even though the city’s Rec Center has been closed, Clintonville Mayor Lois Bressette requested that money be included in the budget for a future Rec Center.
The Finance Committee was scheduled to discuss the budget again this week, as well as on Monday, Nov. 13. The city council is scheduled to adopt a 2018 city budget at its meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14.