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Platteville budget up 0.8%, mil rate up 1.05%
Council to vote tonight; $1.68 million in capital debt
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Almost overshadowed by the vote on the Platteville Library Block developer’s agreement (see page 1) is the Platteville Common Council’s 2016 budget vote this week.

The council will vote on both the 2016 budget after the public hearing Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the 2016–2010 Capital Improvement Plan.

The budget of almost $8.21 million will be funded by a tax levy of almost $3.96 million, up 0.8 percent from last year. 

The mil rate of $7.69 per $1,000 assessed valuation is up from last year’s $7.61 per $1,000. The owner of a $150,000 city house will pay $1,152.96 in city property taxes, up about 1.05 percent from last year.

The budget includes a proposed 1 percent salary increase for city hourly employees effective Jan. 1, with money equivalent to a 1 percent increase as of July 1 set aside to start funding salary changes identified through the city’s compensation study, now in progress. The city is projecting to pay almost $5.58 million to its employees, including its 89 full-time and permanent part-time employees, totaling 68 percent of the city’s budget.

The budget includes increases in health insurance — 7.9 percent for employees on DeanCare and 5.96 percent for employees on Medical Associates — partly offset by a new dental insurance provider, MetLife, which is expected to save $6,000, according to city budget documents.

The city’s contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement System for “general” employees is decreasing from 6.8 percent in 2015 to 6.6 percent in 2016, and for “protected” employees (mainly police) from 9.63 percent this year to 9.4 percent next year.

The budget includes almost $3.8 million in capital spending, including a new 2½ ton dump truck, a leaf vacuum, new 911 software, a new parks tractor, work at the Harrison Park playground, and a revamped city website. A new fire truck and street work on Richard Street from Straw Street to South Chestnut Street, Short Street from West Adams Street to Cedar Street, Cedar Street from North Water Street to North Fourth Street, and Furnace Street from North Chestnut Street to the west is being funded through $1.68 million in debt. Bonson Street from West Main Street to West Furnace Street will be funded through Tax Incremental Financing District 7.

One project not in the budget is Laura Street, which District 4 Ald. Ken Kilian has advocated to be included throughout the budget process. Not enough aldermen have agreed with Kilian to put Laura Street work into the budget instead of other projects.

The budget also includes increases in part-time hours at the Rollo Jamison and Mining museums and the Platteville Public Library, along with increases for technology and what is called “education/marketing,” as well as a $15,000 contingency fund.

The Capital Improvement Plan includes almost $42.5 million in projects between 2016 and 2020.