Muskego - A municipal levy carrying a tax rate that is the same as the rate in 2010 was approved for 2013 by the Muskego Common Council last week.
The 2013 levy is $12 million, up $70,535 or 0.6 percent from this year. The tax rate for municipal services will be $4.40 per $1,000 of assessed value which is down 1 cent from this year. The reason the rate is going down despite the levy rising somewhat is because the city grew a bit.
"I'm very pleased with the rate going down," Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said.
That happened while maintaining city services at the current level and having enough for 1 percent raises across the board and merit raises to be determined, Chiaverotti said.
"We're in good shape. Some municipalities are faced with cutting services," she said.
The $17.2 million budget for 2013 is 0.3 percent, or $52,348, higher than this year's spending plan.
The 2013 operating budget of $14.3 million is 1.99 percent, or $279,509, higher than the 2012 operating budget.
Even though the operating budget grew more than the budget did overall, Chiaverotti said she was glad that the budget process was more of a team effort this year.
"Every department head was at the table, I believe that was not done before," she said. "Aldermen were able to look at every line item and know every dollar is spent wisely and that there are no pockets of money."
The 2013 budget puts more emphasis on economic development than budgets in the past, Chiaverotti said. That's because the city plans to hire a GIS planner who will implement the economic marketing plan the Common Council has already adopted.
Despite the good news for next year, Chiaverotti warned that taxes probably will take a hit in the next couple of years. That's because the city was able to get away with paying for some large capital expenditures next year by using the landfill fund so it won't have to borrow money. Veolia Environmental Services pays into the landfill fund for the opportunity to operate its landfill in Muskego. The city also will be able to finish streetscaping on Janesville Road and the Woods Road recreation trail with money borrowed last year, Chiaverotti.
Similarly, Park Arthur will be developed with $1.2 million from the park dedication fund, she said. But getting away without borrowing can't last forever.
"Capital borrowing will be part of the future," Chiaverotti cautioned.
- Jane Ford-Stewart
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