department heads learned Monday the Town Council is considering a 4 percent
pay raise for full-time employees in 2015, but that means individual
department budgets can’t increase much over this year to swing it.
An increase also is
being considered for volunteer firefighters who contract with the town
through an incorporation, as well as a $1,000 raise for clerk-treasurer Jane
also receive longevity pay.
State tax officials
are indicating they will allow a 2.7 percent increase in the money raised
through property taxes next year, said Jordan. The 2015 levy is estimated to
total about $1.8 million. Six other funds also raised a combined $246,000
In light of
anticipated increases for insurance and benefit costs tied to raises, that
left council members looking for every dollar they could cut last night from
the proposed 2015 department budgets.
It also prompted
councilman Jeff Freeze to ask Jordan to research implementing a
trash-collection user fee on residents to help offset the contract cost for
that service, which at $81,000 represents about one-fourth of the general
fund budget after cuts to it were made.
contract doesn’t include curbside recycling pick-up or trash collection for
Freeze said he was
not advocating a user fee, just bringing it up for discussion sake.
Councilman Gene Weibl said the majority of towns offset garbage costs with a
fee. Councilman Greg Miller said only a portion of that cost could be
offset, not necessarily the entire amount.
“Where else do we
go? There’s not many areas to cut,” said council president Jim McGee.
Perrine was absent.
The council also
has to decide how it will use revenue raised through an existing user fee to
maintain town water hydrants for fire protection; the money formerly went to
the Fire Department for its discontinued ALS ambulance service, which also
received town CEDIT funds which now can be redirected for another purpose.
During the Police
Department discussion, Freeze said town marshal Mike Heckman likely needs to
hire another full-time deputy next year due to continued population growth
in town. Budget categories were adjusted to allow for it.
Fire chief Bill
Arney had budgeted $80,000 to expand the fire station with a training room.
He said there’s no adequate space for the 26 volunteers to assemble. Freeze
said he’s not questioning the need, just whether it’s short sighted doing
something now that doesn’t reflect the future space needs of other town
Weibl noted every
department needs space so the long-term question is whether the fire station
will remain where it is.
comprehensive plan calls for construction of a new town hall near U.S. 20
where a downtown district is proposed, leaving the current town hall to be
Arney said he needs
to replace his aging chief’s first-response vehicle. Council members
indicated replacing the vehicle, road paving and perhaps building sidewalks
in some areas likely will be 2015 priorities.
town Redevelopment Commission anticipates collecting $600,000 both this year
and next year from property taxes segregated for its exclusive use. The RDC
hasn’t submitted a budget how 2015 funds would be spent. RDC president
Miller said he’ll finalize a tentative budget for the rescheduled Aug. 18