City Discusses 2019 Budget at First Budget Meeting Tonight

The City of Marshfield has released the proposed 2019 City budget, which will be presented and discussed at the Council’s first budget meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall Plaza (now referred to as the old City Hall).

According to a memo from City Administrator Steve Barg, this budget was a challenge to prepare, largely due to the significant reduction in state transportation aid and the loss in assessed value.

“This was a very challenging budget to prepare, given the sizable reduction (approximately $94,000) in state transportation aid, and the loss of almost $5,000,000 in assessed value (outside of TIF districts, which increased significantly), due to new state legislation that greatly increased exemptions for personal property,” said City Administrator Steve Barg in the release. “The proposed budget includes a 2.74% increase in general fund expenses, and a 1.99% increase in the City’s tax rate (to $9.38 per $1000 of assessed value).”

Budgets to be considered at the budget meetings are broken down by department. Action may be taken on any one of the budgets at these meetings. Budgets not reviewed at the first meeting, due to time limits, will be added to the second budget meeting agenda on October 29, 2018.

OnFocus took a look at the changes proposed in each budget department between the revised 2018 and the proposed 2019 budget. The numbers are not final until approved by Council.

Departments include:

  • General Government (Mayor, Common Council, City Administrator, City Attorney, City Clerk, Finance, Technology, Assessor, Various Non-Departmental Budgets)
    • Decrease of $1,611
      • (due to decrease in Mayor’s supplies and expenses balanced with an increase in other salaries and services in the general government fund)
  • Public Works (Administration, Engineering, Street Division, Facilities Management, Airport)
    • Increase of $88,923
      • Street Division staffing comprises most of this amount, at a cost of $88,717
      • Note: This budget amount does not include street projects
  • Public Safety (Police, Fire & Rescue, Emergency Management, Municipal Court, Drug Court)
    • Increase of $403,741.
      • $288,592 increase in salaries at Police Department
      • $129,036 increase in salaries at the Fire Department – some of which is being paid for from an Enterprise Fund.
      • No 2019 contribution to the Wood County Drug Court, which is a reduction of $22,000.
  • Parks, Recreation, Education & Culture (Parks & Recreation, Library, UW Marshfield/Wood County, Dairyfest, Celebrations & Entertainment, Upham Mansion, Cemetery, Historic Preservation)
    • Increase of $122,314
      • Salary increases at Parks & Recreation of $104,334
        • Administration increased $43,790
  • Economic Development (Development Services, Industrial Park Operations)
    • Decrease of $33,466
      • Majority of this decrease is a result of decreasing the funding to MACCI’s Business Development Director position.
  • Special Revenue Funds (Room Tax, Rehabilitation, Economic Development Fund, Business Improvement District, Taxi, Cable TV, Municipal Court)
    • Room Tax: expecting an increase of $75,000
    • Rehabilitation: Same amount as last year, at $1,250
    • Economic Development Fund: Decrease of $33,012
      • $50,000 decrease in housing incentive program offset by $18,190 increase in the EDB budget
    • Business Improvement District: Decrease of $300
    • Taxi: Decrease of $55,300
      • Caused by a corresponding drop of state grants
    • Cable TV: Decrease of $67,536
      • Non-renewal of Cable TV contract, addition of two FTE positions
  • Debt Service/Capital Projects Fund
    • Debt Includes:
      • $1,920,000 of asphalt paving
      • $300,000 for E 29th Street
      • $20,000 for an alley project between Central/Maple and 5th/6th
      • $311,000 Lincoln Ave water main installation between Ives St. and McMillan St
    • Other Capital Projects
      • $706,730 for a replacement fire truck
  • Enterprise Funds (Wastewater Utility, Emergency Medical Services)
    • $18,788 increase in Wastewater
    • $85,589 increase in EMS
  • *note: increases/decreases were calculated by subtracting 2019 Proposed values from 2018 Budgeted values.

Additional Details:

Staffing: There are 7.19 proposed positions to be added in 2019. They include: 2.0 FTE in Communications, 1.0 in Police, .19 Library, .15 Cemetery, and .85 in Parks & Recreation.

From the proposal: The recommended 2019 budget contains an amount equal to a 2.5% pay increase for all non-represented staff, effective as of July 1, 2019, just above the expected CPI of 2.38% for the previous 12 months from September 2017 to September 2018. It includes funds for step increases to move employees up to market rate and beyond as appropriate, and an added step bump on January 1, 2019 for employees who have been in their current positions for 10 years or more. The Council agreed last year to end the employee merit program; but the proposed budget includes these funds ($10,000) for the development of an employee appreciation/recognition program (to be presented for review and approval by FBP Committee/City Council).

Personal Property Tax: In layman’s terms… Prior to 2019, all property owned by businesses was taxed. This list of items that all businesses had to claim as property taxes was changed between 2018-2019 tax years. The list of things that could be tax was limited, resulting in a $5 million decrease in taxable value for the City.