Janesville City Council approves 2013 budget
A look at the 2013 budget for the city of Janesville
Next year $42.831 million
This year $41.905 million
Increase 2.21 percent
Next year $29.916 million
This year $29.375 million
Increase 1.84 percent
(Per $1,000 of assessed valuation and with TIF)
Next year $7.8746
This year $7.9014
Decrease 0.34 percent
Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.
JANESVILLE The Janesville City Council on Monday passed the 2013 budget on a 5-2 vote, and council member Russ Steeber said work on the 2014 budget should begin in January in an effort to control future spending.
Steeber and fellow council members Sam Liebert, Jim Farrell, Kathy Voskuil and Deb Dongarra-Adams approved the budget, which includes a $43-million general fund—a 2.21 percent increase from last year.
Council members Matt Kealy and DuWayne Severson voted "no."
The tax levy will increase 1.84 percent from $29.375 million to $29.916 million. The tax rate without tax incremental financing will increase .63 percent from $7.63 to $7.68.
The budget calls for a $16 increase per household in garbage collection fees and freezes a police officer position.
The council will set the tax rate for all taxing jurisdictions Friday.
Liebert said he is not comfortable with the almost $1 million in reserves used to balance the budget.
"But I do think it was needed (in 2013)," Liebert said, adding he believes the city will fare better as the economy improves.
Voskuil said the council's only choices are to reduce services and increase revenues. Next year, city staff should begin scrutinizing service outcomes, she said.
"We're not going to be able to keep the same amount of services without dipping into reserves," she said. The council might have to redefine its core services, she said.
Severson said he voted against the budget because the city should have started cutting services in 2013 rather than use reserves to balance the budget.
"The council didn't address the issues faced by the community," he said. It is just "kicking the can" down the road to the next council, he said.
Severson also said he wished budget choices better incorporated the opinions of residents in a survey commissioned by the city.
Severson noted the majority of the council did not support the request from the minority when the minority asked City Manager Eric Levitt to find another $150,000 in cuts to preserve reserves.
"If we can't start even at $150,000, then when does it start?" Severson asked.
Kealy said the city is not living within its means.
When he ran for election in spring, spending was the "hot topic," he said.
"We just don't have the revenue to support our expenses," he said. He doubted better times would allow the council to replace what it has taken.
"It's not an unreasonable budget," Kealy said. "It's just not a sustainable budget."
Farrell said the budget keeps services at the level he wants.
"If we want Janesville to be a first-rate city, we cannot significantly reduce services," he said.