Franklin — Taking the first step to review Mayor Tom Taylor's proposed city budget calling for no property tax levy increase, members of the Common Council on Monday concentrated on staff and labor costs they expect will support a cost-neutral approach.
Some of those details include reinstating funding for an additional police officer and assistant building inspector as well as transferring funds that would have been used to retain a deputy finance director following a vacancy to use them to support an addition and reclassification of human resource positions.
Growing the economy
Though not in the budget, the council asked Director of Administration Mark Luberda to provide information regarding what it would take to hire an economic development director on a half-time or full-time basis. Council members said the position also should be cost-neutral with funds drawn from other budget sources.
Luberda said he would confirm the details. He estimated that a full-time director annual salary range could be $70,000 to more than $100,000 depending on whether the individual has a skill set of marketing and public relations or direct sales.
"It's really a very general estimate," Luberda said, noting that he will be providing more detailed information to a mayor-appointed task force that is expected to form in the coming months.
Also part of the budget is a classification and compensation study of all city staff positions. Classification, Luberda said, concentrates on an internal evaluation and alignment of positions while compensation would be an external study of how salaries compare with communities of similar size and scope. He said each part of the study would cost $20,000.
Luberda's position also was discussed. The mayor recommended that the director of administration should have enhanced authority in daily operations with most city departments. The position, he said, does not require more funding but would be part of the classification and compensation study.
The proposal drew mixed reaction.
Alderman Ken Skowronski said he supports the measure along with the rest of the budget. Board President Steve Taylor said he needs more time to look at all the personnel moves.
"I am going to recommend that the director of administration position be taken out of this budget and dealt with separately," Taylor said, adding that more information is needed from other communities that have broader administrator duties to see what works and if there are problems.
Mayor Taylor said he proposed the expansion of administrator duties in order to help improve day-to-day operations. The mayoral position is part time, though Tom Taylor, a retiree, has put in hours more equivalent to a full-time position. Last month he announced that he will not seek re-election.
He said that two referendums since 1999 have supported keeping the mayor a part-time position.
Steve Taylor said he is not sold on the idea.
"First, I'm not in favor of taking away power from elected officials and putting it into the hands of bureucrats," he said. "Second, you have a situation with a mayor leaving office who is putting in place his vision of how the job will be. I think the people who will be running for office may have a different view."
2014 City Budget Details
The proposed budget includes expenditures of $23.9 million, a 2.1 percent decrease from 2013; no change in the tax levy; and a 1.5 percent increase in salaries.
The mil rate is estimated to be $6.28 per $1,000 of assessed value. Though 50 cents higher than 2013, property value decreases still mean a tax decrease. An example from the budget proposal noted that a $250,000 assessment last year estimated to be $227,500 this year shows that the property tax would decrease by $36.11.
The entire budget is posted on the far left column of the city's website, www.franklinwi.gov under "Mayor's Recommended 2014 Budget."
OCT. 7: alternate day for additional Committee of the Whole discussion
OCT. 15: possible further discussion at Common Council
OCT. 17: publication of preliminary budget and hearing notice
NOV. 4: public hearing
NOV. 5: Common Council adoption of annual budget
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