City’s proposed budget calls for 1.4 percent reduction in spending

The proposed 2012 operating budget calls for a $130,000 spending reduction from the 2011 adopted budget, resulting in a 1.4 percent decrease from the city’s current budget of $9,264,199.

City Manager Kevin Brunner initially presented the proposed $9,134,425 budget to the council on Oct. 11.

Brunner made a presentation to Whitewater City Council last Tuesday on the proposed 2012 budget.

A more in-depth review was postoponed until last night because of the absence of two council members, Councilmember-at-Large Marilyn Kienbaum and District 3 Alderman Lynn Binnie.

City Council President Patrick Singer wanted to wait for their attendance last night to make the formal presentation of the budget.

“I think we should give them a chance to have their voices heard,” Singer said.

Although the cost of living has increased 10.9 percent since 2006, Brunner remarked on how the proposed 2012 budget is actually less than the general fund expenditures in 2006, which totaled $9,343,280.

“We have done a lot of things to keep our costs down in this city, and we should be proud of that,” Brunner said. “Not too many governments can say they are spending less now than they were five years ago.”

Brunner had requested all departments be cut by four percent.

As required by the state budget, the property tax levy for the 2012 budget will have a zero percent increase for both the city and for Jefferson County.

Walworth County can expect the municipal tax rate to increase two cents, from $5.21 to $5.23 per $1,000 equalized valuation.

The tax rate for Jefferson County has decreased 10 cents from $5.32 to $5.22.

Since valuation has gone down, fewer people are expected to have to make up for the difference in cuts. In other words, there will be fewer people paying the same taxes to help the city get to the same tax levy.

Compared with similar cities around the state, Brunner noted that Whitewater’s tax rate is “among the lowest of all cities with over a 5,000 population.”

Whitewater, again, presents the lowest municipal tax rate amount than other UW System communities.

The tax rate for the proposed budget puts Whitewater at $5.11 per $1,000. La Crosse is jumping to $11.81 and Eau Claire to $8.17.

“This is a good budget,” Brunner said. “Whitewater has a low tax rate.”

The council also:

Passed a resolution to create a captain position in the police department, replacing one of the current lieutenant positions.

Rejected the bids to restore the train depot due to the high costs that exceeded the architect’s estimates.

Presented an award to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

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