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City council makes adjustments; budget ready for public comment

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
October 28, 2010
— Janesville City Council members on Tuesday night tweaked the proposed 2011 city budget—upping fees and using some unexpected revenue—until they found money to partially restore two police officer positions but keep the proposed levy increase the same.

Two police officer positions will be filled in July 2011 rather than in 2012.


They also opted to maintain the schedule of two bus routes until July in hopes they can avoid laying off an employee.


The council finished studying the budget during a marathon session Tuesday.


The bottom line is the same as when City Manager Eric Levitt introduced the budget earlier this month.


The general fund operating budget—everything the city spends money on except paying debt—would be $36.59 million, an increase of $536,866, or about 1.5 percent. The property tax levy would be $25.44 million, an increase of $523,895, or about 2.1 percent.


Public hearings on the budget are scheduled Nov. 8 and 22 during regular city council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. in City Hall.


The most recent changes include:


-- Filling two police officers starting July 1 and maintaining the 104 police-officer roster. Public safety is a high priority for the council, Levitt said. That restores $48,813 to the budget. Levitt had suggested leaving two positions open for a year.


-- Reducing by $35,000 the amount budgeted to pay for handling stray animals through a contract with the Rock County Humane Society. Levitt said he went back through the data and decided an initial city estimate probably was too high.


-- Reducing debt service by $14,438. The city was able to issue a bond and borrow money at a lower-than-estimated interest rate.


-- Increasing summer ice rental rates at the Janesville Ice Skating Center for a projected revenue increase of $10,000.


-- Delaying a reduction of service in two bus routes until July 1, which decreases savings from $30,250 to $15,125. Levitt had suggested reducing service beginning Jan. 1 on the Kellogg Avenue and West Court Street routes during non-peak, weekday hours of 9:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and on Saturdays. The bus would run every hour rather than every half-hour during those times. That change would have meant laying off an employee, and council members wanted to avoid that if possible. They hope they do not have to lay off an employee if they wait six months to make the change.


Some cuts suggested by Levitt that remain in the budget include:


-- Keeping an administrative analyst position in the manager's office vacant until July 1.


-- Reducing cleaning in public buildings to four days a week.


-- Reducing aquatic hours. The council changed the hours the pools are open, though, from noon to 6 p.m. at the wading pools and noon to 5 p.m. at Rockport Pool.


-- Reducing money given to the Janesville Design & Development Center from $51,000 to $20,000. Council members were told Tuesday that Forward Janesville has decided to close the center Jan. 1.


-- Delaying for six months hiring a deputy fire chief.


The council also decided to charge residents a $40 annual fee for trash pickup, although that revenue is not reflected in the tax levy.


Negotiations with the city's four unions are not finished, and the budget now reflects a zero percent increase in wages, although money is budgeted for longevity increases.


2011 Janesville city budget

A look at the Janesville city budget for 2011:


Total budget


Next year * $45.68 million


This year * $45.49 million


Increase 0.4%


Tax levy


Next year * $29.50 million


This year * $28.84 million


Increase 2.3%


Tax rate


(Per $1,000 of assessed valuation)


Next year * $8.37


This year * $8.24


Increase 1.6%


* Includes library, TIF


Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.



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