Portage City Council passed the 2022 budget Tuesday night with a light increase in the tax rate.
City Administrator Shawn Murphy presented the budget and gave a brief overview to all departments Tuesday night at city hall before the common council approved it 7-1 with one abstention.
Murphy said the tax levy increased from $6.1 million in 2021 to $6.4 million in 2022 and the mill rate declined 0.22%.
The budget shows $23.61 million in revenue is expected with total expenses of $26.67 million.
Murphy and Portage’s city finance director Jean Mohr broke down the department’s overview to the common council.
“So what you’re saying is we’re in good shape. The city of Portage is in good financial shape,” Alderperson Jeff Monfort asked.
“That is correct,” Murphy responded. “The reduction in the mill rate has helped the city.”
Murphy said the assessed value of property in Portage has recovered from the 2008 recession. He said assessed values across the city hit a low point back then, but have been climbing back. The total assessed value has rebounded from as low as $530 million in 2014 to $723 million in 2021.
Health insurance has dropped, which Murphy said helped department budgets.
Alderperson Eric Shimpach was the only council member to vote against budget. He said he wanted to see more cuts to the budget. but did not give any specifics on where funding should decreased.
“With rising gas prices and food prices and the increases to electricity – the standard of living is rising,” Shimpach said. “With this budget we’ll see the standard of living be effected and will worsen over the years.”
Alderperson Dennis Nachreiner said Shimpach should’ve made those concerns known earlier in the process.
“I value your opinion, but tonight is not the time to bring this up. Tonight we are here to approve this budget,” Nachreiner said. “The finance committee put a lot of time into this budget and I don’t think it’s right to make them go back and change things because one person doesn’t like it.”
Alderperson Chris Crawley abstained from voting on the 2022 budget. He said he wanted to see more money designated for the police and fire departments and health care.
Murphy said the fire department budget has decreased due to cost-saving measures including health insurance and overlapping Fire Chief Position that was proposed by Chief Troy Haase earlier this year.
Police expenses are set to increase in 2022 by just under 5% due to personnel costs. Crawley did not give any details on how much more money should go to police, fire and health insurance.