“For the typical property owner, city taxes aren’t going to increase much at all,” said Beaver Dam director of administration John Somers.
One of the greatest challenges is escalating health care costs, although Somers indicated that the city managed to save money there as well.
“We did get a good proposal from Dean Health Insurance versus Unity, so we were able to get a reduction in cost,” Somers said. “We’re actually paying less in 2013 than we paid in 2012. That turned out to be a significant number”
On Monday night the common council approved the 2013 budget, with a slight increase in operations and maintenance cost (up 1.08 percent); a slight decrease in capital outlays (down 6.41 percent), and a large increase in debt service for the new police department (up 11.38 percent). All told, total expenses are up from $13.7 million to $14 million (up 2.08 percent).
Items briefly discussed include a proposed $7,000 to help put on the annual Lake Days festival in June (left as proposed) and a proposal that $4,500 to replace police radar guns be used instead to purchase police radios. The police budget includes enough money for half of the police radios and new radar guns. Police chief Ronald Smith indicated that he would forward the suggestion to the police and fire commission.
Revenue is projected to drop $23,891 or .44 percent.
As a result the levy is up from $8.3 million to $8.6 million (an increase of $309,000 or 3.73 percent).
Due to a drop in property value (down 5.5 percent), the value of an average home is now $98,842, compared to $104,581 in 2012. City taxes on that value were $860 in 2012 and will be $865 in 2013 (up .58 percent).
Savings were achieved in health insurance ($105,924), a reduction in fire department clerical (back to part time for a savings of $24,000, and an adjustment in school liaison officer ($8,000 savings). Increases came in the form of a chamber of commerce request ($2,500), teen court funding (up $3,000), an election official wage increase ($2,125), and an increase of 2 percent for non represented and AFSCME staff wages ($52,000).
This is the first year that AFSCME union members will have to pay toward their pensions.
The adjusted tax levy stands at $5.58 million.
The budget was approved with an 11-1 vote. Alderperson Teresa Hiles Olson voted no, but did not say on the record why she voted against the budget.