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Muskego's budget takes growth into account

Sept. 17, 2012

Muskego - A proposed 2013 Muskego budget that calls for a property tax rate decrease of 1 cent per $1,000 of assessed value will likely be finalized by the Muskego Common Council on Tuesday.

The proposed 2013 general fund budget, the largest part of the total budget, is $14,225,276, which reflects an increase of 1.38 percent compared to 2012.

Using growth dollars

The city had a 0.72 percent net new growth, but the proposed budget uses only part of that growth in its $194,200 increase in its operating budget.

That increase accounts for 0.591 of the 0.72 percent growth, Mayor Cathy Chiaverotti said. Because the growth in the budget is less than the city's net growth, the proposed property tax rate would go down. It would be the second year in a row that the rate fell 1 cent per $1,000. The levy increase for all purposes is a proposed $70,535.

Chiaverotti proposes to use the extra $194,200 in the operating budget for several purposes. Chiefly, she wants to add a person to work on economic growth.

The Common Council recently adopted a marketing plan to promote growth, and now the city needs someone to implement it. Adding businesses to the taxbase is a major goal, she said.

"I view that as investing in the future. It should lead to net new growth," Chiaverotti said.

The rest of the additional revenue would cover higher pension costs required by the state's Wisconsin Retirement System, higher health insurance costs, the citywide property revaluation to be done next year, replenishing sand and salt reserves and maintenance of new streetscaping on Janesville Road.

Staffing strategies

Helping offset the cost of the new economic development position is the reduction of a full-time floating position into part-time customer service clerk, she said.

The proposed budget contains no cutbacks.

"Some municipalities had to cut back on services, but we remain in a very good position, able to balance the budget without cutting services," Chiaverotti said.

The proposed budget contains no raises for non-union employees at this point. Chiaverotti said she wants to work with the Common Council to develop wage scales and decide the issue of raises.

Unions representing nonemergency personnel dissolved as of January, so the city is in a state of transition, Chiaverotti said.

Nonunion employees have paid 9 percent of health insurance premiums since the second half of 2011 and will pay 10 percent next year. They also will pay about 5.9 percent of WRS pension premiums.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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