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Platteville council approves 2016 budget
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With almost no discussion, the Platteville Common Council unanimously approved the city’s 2016 budget Nov. 24.

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 got one public comment — from Dave Allen, president of the city Museum Board, thanking the council for “the support that the city gives to the museums” — and one council comment, from at-large Ald. Mike Denn, wanting funding for Independence Day fireworks in the budget.

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.

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.