Council OKs 2009 budget; most of Tallman money back
That additional money will cost the owner of the average home assessed at $113,300 an extra 61 cents.
The approved 2009 budget calls for a 3.46 percent increase in the tax levy, not including TIF. It includes a 1.7 percent increase in the tax rate, including TIF.
The average homeowner will pay a total of $926 for city services, including the library. That is an increase of about $15 from last year.
The council will set the tax rate for all taxing jurisdictions at 7 a.m. Monday, Dec. 1.
The Tallman House was the only major issue discussed on Monday, and Tallman House supporters stressed the importance of the historical home and its link to Abraham Lincoln.
The $50,000 is a $7,597 reduction from last year. The city also pays $4,400 for grounds maintenance.
Council member Kathy Voskuil said the council has an obligation to preserve the Tallman House, which she said is significant not only to Janesville but the United States as a whole.
Council member Russ Steeber, who at one study session suggested giving the Tallman House back to the Tallman Trust, said he still believes it is important to preserve.
He encouraged the society to come back to the city with a schedule to fix some of the buildings' structural problems, as well.
Tom McDonald and Yuri Rashkin voted against increasing the subsidy.
"I agree that the Tallman House is valuable to the city of Janesville and we should preserve our historical structures," McDonald said.
But McDonald said he believes the city more than subsidizes the Tallman House.
McDonald said he has seen operational budgets ranging from $60,000 to $78,000. But the historical society also gets $15,000 from the Tallman family trust fund and $15,000 in admission revenue. He said that means the city ends up subsidizing the Rock County Historical Society.
The council directed that the subsidy be used only for the Tallman House.
Rashkin said he doesn't think that reducing the subsidy means the house would be torn down.
"I think it behooves us to be responsible to taxpayer money," he said. "Times are tough."
Afterward, Duke Ellingson of the society board said the board will look at other ways to raise funds.
He stressed, though, that the city owns the Tallman House. The society is just the contracted operator, he said.
Before the vote, Don Branz, 336 S. Harmony Drive, thanked the council for a tax rate increase of less than 2 percent. The council cut about $296,000 from the proposed budget.
But he urged the council to look for savings in the coming year. He said he is 75 and retired and, with current economic conditions, he has had to lower his expenses by 25 percent.
He also suggested that the city take advantage of lower oil costs to accelerate street repairs, something for which the council already has given the OK.
Hopefully, he said, the city could have a zero percent increase in 2010.
BY THE NUMBERS
A look at the 2009 budget for Janesville:
Next year: $41.62 million
This year: $40.63 million
Next year: $28.47 million
This year: $27.40 million
(Per $1,000 of assessed valuation)
Next year: $8.18
This year: $8.04
Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.