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First public hearing on 2011 budget is tonight

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
November 8, 2010
— Residents will have a chance Monday to comment on the 2011 budget for the city of Janesville, the public library and the home programs.

The council is expected to approve the budget at its Nov. 22 meeting, when a second public hearing will be held.


The 2011 city and library budgets have a net increase of $194,336 in expenditures, including debt service. Outside revenue, including money applied from the fund balance, fell $395,666, however, resulting in an increase in the municipal tax levy of $590,002, or 2.1 percent, without TIF.


That increase, plus the TIF tax levy, results in a 1.61 hike in the tax rate for city purposes, which would cost the owner of the average home assessed at $114,000 an additional $15.16 per year.


The proposed budget:


-- Includes a 3 percent salary increase workers were supposed to receive in 2010 that was delayed until 2011. The budget includes no wage increases for city workers in 2011, except for longevity step increases for some. Negotiations are ongoing with four city unions. The budget also includes an increase of $177,000 to cover shortfalls in the state's pension plan for public employees. City employees do not contribute to their pension plans.


-- Doubles the budgeted amount paid to the Rock County Humane Society for stray-animal control.


-- Leaves two police officer positions, a deputy fire chief position and an administrative management position vacant for half a year.


-- Reduces cleaning in public buildings.


-- Increases fees at the senior center and for adult recreation.


-- Reduces aquatic hours.


-- Reduces the frequency of two bus routes beginning in July.


-- Reduces TIF money to the Janesville Design and Development Center, which ultimately led to a decision to close the center next year.


-- Reduces park staff at Riverside Park by one but spreads that reduction across the park system.


-- Closes the library at 5 p.m. Fridays.


The operating tax levy increase at the library is $58,173, or 2 percent, to $2.97 million.


The city anticipates that about $1.9 million will be available from various sources, mostly federal, in 2011. The city's Community Development Authority has also recommended that the city, with some discretionary funds, give: $4,000 to the Boys & Girls Club after-school program; $50,500 to ECHO for emergency rental assistance; $38,000 to HealthNet; $4,000 to the Literacy Connection; $5,500 to the Neighborhood Action Team; and $3,000 for camp scholarships—for a total of $105,000.


The council opted at a recent budget study session to direct $18,000 from home ownership programs to the Downtown Development Alliance Matching Grant Façade Program to fight blight. The council did agree with a CDA decision not to divert $45,000 from home ownership programs to pay for an elevator at the Lincoln Tallman House.


If you go


The Janesville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St. Scheduled items for discussion include:


-- Action to extend existing landfill contracts with outside haulers through 2011. Some residents and council members want the city to stop accepting outside waste to increase the life of the city's landfill. Staff, however, is recommending the council fill the existing cell as quickly as possible because it has odor issues.


-- Approval of the sale of property at 189 S. High St., which was rehabilitated by the city. Purchase price is $95,000.


-- Action on the sale of surplus property at 3123 Rockport Park Drive for $18,751. The lot is of one of nine lots in the Hickory Ridge Subdivision that were foreclosed on because the developer had not paid property taxes or the special assessments for improvements. The city spent $126,974 for utilities and streets. At a recent auction, the city bid on eight lots because the bids did not reach the maximum bid amount set by the council for a total of $79,500. Of that amount, the city will receive $58,307 back in special assessments and Rock County will keep $21,193 for back taxes and foreclosing costs. The city now has a total of $155,420 invested in the lots, which includes estimated 2010 taxes.


The city's purchase price for the lot at 3123 Rockport Park Drive was $14,250, and the city will receive $10,719 from Rock County for the special assessments levied against the property. To date, the city has $17,521 invested in the lot. The property is about a half-acre and has an assessed land value of $29,700.


The $18,751 bid pays off the remaining special assessment principal of $2,497, the estimated 2010 property taxes of $774, and repays the property acquisition account $14,250 for a net gain of $1,230 to the property acquisition account.



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