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City budget vote tonight
Mil rate to increase 1.7%
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If you want to express an opinion about the 2014 City of Platteville budget, tonight is your last chance.

The Common Council is scheduled to hold its public hearing and vote on the 2014 budget today at 7 p.m.

Funding city operations in 2014 will cost city taxpayers an estimated $7.39 per $1,000 assessed valuation, up from $7.27 per $1,000 last year.

The owner of a $150,000 house will pay an estimated $1,108.50 in city property taxes, up from $1,090.50 one year ago.

In addition to the tax increase, the city is also increasing fire inspection fees from $30 to $35 and rental inspections from $90 to $100.

The operating portion of the budget is up 1.05 percent from the 2013 budget. The capital budget is down from $3.27 million in 2013 to $2.43 million in 2014.

One reason the budget didn’t increase by more is that 2014 health insurance rates from the city’s insurance carriers are substantially less than the 11 percent increase in the initial budget. Medical Associates of Dubuque is increasing its rates 1.8 percent, and Deancare of Madison is increasing its rates 7.9 percent. The insurance rates save $33,000 in health insurance costs. The city’s dental insurance rates will not increase in 2014.

Assuming the budget is passed as is, city hourly employees will receive a 2-percent pay increase Jan. 1 and a 1-percent increase July 1, but will still work 37 hours per week. A proposal to increase hours from 37 to 40 authored by at-large Ald. Mike Denn was defeated. City hourly employees have worked 37 hours per week since 2012.

he budget includes a $5,000 cut in hours at the city’s museums, which was less than the originally proposed funding cut in the original budget. The city’s Museum Task Force proposed reducing city funding for museums, but not until 2015.

One change in this budget from previous budgets is shifting of funding for economic development organizations from the operating budget to city Tax Increme ntal Financing accounts. The city is also planning to pay off Platteville Development Corp., developer of Tax Incremental Financing District 5. The $3.5 million loan means the city will have to pay for all TIF 5 expenses, but will also receive all tax revenues from TIF 5 improvements, according to city officials.

The council decided to reallocate $40,000 for studies of employee pay and the city’s economic development partners into two different areas. The two changes have no budget impact because they will transfer funds from the city’s Capital Improvement Plan into its operating budget.

One area will implement the information technology study conducted earlier this year.  The council also decided to use funds for grant-writing consultation, in an effort to find grants to fund city projects.

The budget can be viewed online at