Waukesha City Staff Recommends Avoiding Furloughs
Budget team identifies ways to reduce spending in 2012 budget in light of mayor's veto. With the new list of spending cuts, city taxes would raise .49 percent.
The Common Council tonight will take up Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima’s veto of the 2012 budget and a request that the city implement 11 furlough days for all non-police and fire union employees to achieve a flat tax increase.
The budget currently includes a 1.44 percent tax levy increase, which was approved on a 9-6 vote. It takes 10 aldermen to override the mayor’s veto. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 201 Delafield St.
However, instead of furloughs, a memo from Interim City Administrator Steve Crandell, Finance Manager Steve Neaman and Vicki Krueger, an accountant with the city, other options are available.
“Given the fact that almost 80 percent of the city’s budget is personal services, our professional opinion is that furloughs are not the best solution if your goal is to achieve a flat budget,” the memo states. “Furlough days will have legal ramifications, a significant impact on service delivery and employee morale as outlined in previous budget meetings.
“… While this memo hasn’t been previously shared with the department directors, we will ask them for their support. We realize that some of these cuts may not be well received by the respective departments. In that case, they are welcome to submit alternative cuts/revenue enhancements. Or, if you prefer, we can allocate a percentage reduction to each department based on their budget.”
The items identified include:
- Information Technology; $150,000
- Unfund one firefighter position for $73,960; Delay start date on another firefighter until April 1 to save $24,653
- Delay a detective’s start date until April 1 to save $33,800
- Police radios, $50,357
- Personnel protection equipment and crowd-control chemicals from police department, $14,000
- Reduce funding for firefighter turnout gear, $10,000
- Recycling bins for Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department, $2,500
- Reduce computer spending at the Waukesha Public Library, $5,000
- Squad camera replacements, $11,064
- Parking fee proceeds from gas station sales, increases revenue by $10,000
- Reduce number of trees; $6,250
More from the memo:
This year the city’s debt service levy increased by $181,168. This is directly related to the CIP spending that the city does. These items include replacement of roads, storm sewers, construction of fire stations and playgrounds. This increase in the levy is not being considered separately from the operating portion of the budget. Meaning, that we are proposing to reduce our operating budget by this increase in order to reach a zero tax levy increase. For 2012 rather than reducing our spending on CIP to a sustainable level that would not continue to compete with operating tax dollars, the council chose to increase spending. In light of that, if we continue to increase spending on capital and take the increased debt service away from our operations we will not be able to provide any services in the future. The levy limits that were given to us from Madison recognized that and excluded all debt service from the required cap. Madison gave us this tool why are we ignoring it to the detriment of our services?
The total of the above reductions is $489,084. If we take all of these reductions and consider that our debt service is increasing this year ($181,168) and use the tool for that, which Madison gave us, then our operating levy increase would only be $71,315. With those changes the tax levy increase would be $252,483 or .49 percent of an increase over last year. The impact of the city portion of the tax bill on the median value home would be an increase of only $10.40. Taking into consideration the changes to the other taxing entities in the city, the median value home would see a decrease of $44.96 before the impact of the school credit, 1st dollar credit and lottery credit.