The first City of Marshfield public hearing for the 2019 proposed budget will take place tonight at the new City Hall, 207 W 6th Street, at 6:00pm. All members of the public are invited to attend and speak.
In recent budget news, City Administrator Steve Barg alerted media and the Common Council to a development in the proposed City budget: “With some final adjustments made by the State (manufacturing property), our proposed tax rate for 2018 taxes payable in 2019 is $9.2625603, an increase of only .65% (5.96 cents) over last year, rather than .82% as estimated earlier,” Barg said.
OnFocus collected questions regarding the proposed budget, which were shared with and addressed by Mayor Bob McManus. Read our Q&A with Mayor McManus below:
In March, you spoke on camera: “As a banker I look at the numbers, that’s what I do. I believe we need work within our means.” Under your first budget, the city is seeing a tax increase – how do you explain that to the voters that heard you say, “we need to work within our means.”?
The initial recommended budget by our City Administrator required a 1.97 Tax increase (approximately $18.00 per $100,000.00 of value). This was due to the fact that we received less road funding from the State and as well, a calculation error on the difference in personal property values.
I worked with Representative John Spiros and Senator Jerry Petrowski’s and his Chief of staff and we were able to correct the calculation error. So initially the reason for the tax increase was because we were about $218,000.00 short, once numbers were corrected we were not short at all. So I saw no reason for a tax increase. And at the Budget meeting I expressed and explained this in detail. At that time some of the Alderman started to add back some of the cuts that were made and with those adds it would require an increase of about $82,000.00.
Other Alderman still wanted to have the full increase of 1.97% and put the excess money into our reserve account that is already fully funded. At the time of the vote on the 1.97% tax increase, Alderman Witzel made a motion to lower the increase to .82 to just cover the amount of the additions, the vote on that was 5 to 5. Five Alderman voted for 1.97% and 5 voted for .82 and so I broke the tie with .82 as there was no other options.
Since then, more calculations came in that are more favorable to manufacturing values and so now we don’t even need the .82 it is now down to .6. This means that our tax increase will be raised by 6 cents per $1,000.00 of value or $6.00 per $100,000.00 of value. As a point of comparison, Marshfield Tax rate is going from $9.20 to $9.26. Stevens Point is going from $9.56 to $9.65. Wausau is going from $9.82 to $10.27 and Wisconsin Rapids is $11.86.
Also you said that you would find support for attention staffing to address the call volume the fire department is facing. Explain why Marshfield Fire and Rescue is not seeing that support in the 2019 budget?
If you ask any of the great members of the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department my support for them is unwavering. I have been meeting with members of the Fire Department, City Staff, and the Police and Fire Commission since June to go over additional staff that is vitally needed, and the funding.
The funding for the additional staff will not be from the Tax Payer dollar, but rather from a separate fund that is funded with the billings of the Emergency calls that are made. Currently about 92% of the calls received are for EMS and about 8% for Fire. This is why it is so important to staff appropriately and use the appropriate sources to pay for additional staff. Public Safety with Police and Fire is vitally important to the safety of every citizen.
You spoke heavily about roads being an important part of your goals as Mayor. What additional efforts are being implemented to speed up the road improvements? What dollars have been allocated for these efforts?
Since taking office I worked closely with Dan Knoeck and Tom Turchi and his staff to develop the website that I promised the citizens during the election. Initially, I wanted to have that up within 9 months, and due to the hard work by Dan, Tom and their staff they had this great site up within 5 months.
This site is on our main page of the website and it shows the 3 years plan of road work to be done within the city. It is broken down, year to year, project by project. And has been a great addition to our communication of road work. However, we still need to work on funding.
We are currently working on different avenues of increased funding within the City, but nothing concrete just yet. We are also working closely with the State for Central Avenue to start in late Spring 2019 between Arnold and Harrison. Currently that project is out for bid. This is far better then last year when the State waited until May to go out for Bid. We are hopeful to hear from them by the end of December with the outcome of the bid.