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Franklin plans modest raises

Budget asks employees to pay higher premiums

Oct. 2, 2012

Franklin - The city's nonunion workers can expect a 1 percent pay increase in January and another 1 percent increase in July if the 2013 municipal budget is approved as it currently is proposed.

In addition, employee health premium contributions will increase from 10 percent to 12 percent and their contributions to the retirement plan will increase from 4.2 percent to 5 percent.

A redesign of the health care benefit package is expected to save more than $225,000.

The Committee of the Whole on Monday voted, 5-0, to advance the proposed 2013 city budget of just under $23.6 million to a public meeting Nov. 5 with a Common Council vote scheduled for Nov. 13.

"While the budget is somewhat fluid until it is reviewed and approved, labor costs are always the largest piece of it," Director of Administration Mark Luberda said.

He noted that the city will be renegotiating union contracts that expire at the end of the year for about 97 employees, including those in the Police and Fire departments.

Keeping the rate flat

The proposed budget represents a 0.30 percent decrease in spending from this year's $23.7 million.

If approved, taxpayers will contribute almost $20. 6 million of the revenue supporting those expenses. The tax rate will remain at $5.80 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, meaning that the owner of a $250,000 home would be taxed $1,450 next year.

City officials said the intent of the 2013 budget was to keep the tax rate flat while maintaining city services.

"It's a reasonable budget in light of the tough economic times," Mayor Tom Taylor said. "We are trying to keep the levy as low as possible and continue a high level of public safety and other services. "I don't think many people would be happy if the library hours were cut or there was no Fourth of July Parade or St. Martin's Fair.

"The economy appears to be improving and we are one of the fortunate communities that can take advantage of that because we can grow."

Other budgets

Other examples of flattened budget areas include a 1.1 percent decrease in public safety spending, a 0.4 percent decrease in public works, a 1.4 percent increase in health and human services, and a 0.3 percent decrease in recreation and parks.

While the planning budget is expected to decrease by 4.7 percent, economic development's will increase 32.4 percent, or from about $10,800 this year to $14,300 in 2013.

State aid, questions

Savings are needed, Luberda said, because state aid is falling. Examples include an additional loss of $36,000 in transportation funds and $132,000 drop in expenditure restraint funds.

In their two-hour meeting Monday, Committee of the Whole members found only one expenditure in the proposed budget that they eliminated. It was an additional $20,000 to monitor the quarry operation at 51st Street and Rawson Avenue for noise and air pollution. The city already spends $42,000 for monitoring through prearranged revenue from the two quarry companies.

They questioned the city's contribution of almost $35,000 to the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission, which rescues strays and removes dangerous animals from public areas. In the end, they voted to advance the budget with that item intact.

City officials noted that the Common Council has the right to revisit the budget before the Nov. 5 hearing and Nov. 13 vote.

Next Step

WHAT: public hearing on 2013 municipal budget

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 5

WHERE: City Hall, 9229 W. Loomis Road

ETC.: Check the city website, FranklinWI.gov, to verify time closer to the date, and also to see a copy of the proposed budget.

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