The City of Fort Atkinson’s 2020 budget will be covered, in part, by property taxes that are up 2.5 percent from last year.
The municipal tax levy will be $7,563,424 in 2020. For a household valued at $150,000, the tax rate would increase $28.50, or $2.38 per month, City Manager Matt Trebatoski said during the Fort Atkinson City Council’s second night of budget workshops Wednesday.
Fort Atkinson will bring in $399,959.33 from the city’s Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts and raise $3,409,030 in other revenues.
That will bring the city’s total expenditures budget for 2020 to $9,872,705.
Most city departments’ budgets are the same year-to-year, with the biggest jump being in employee pay across the board.
“I worked hard to keep everything the same as much as possible,” Police Chief Adrian Bump told the council.
The total police budget almost is exactly the same, but Bump said building maintenance is more and more on his mind. The current police department is 20 years old and has started to have more and more upkeep issues.
Bump said his dream budget item would be hiring two or three more officers.
“It’s something I’m thinking about down the road,” Bump said. “I’d love to have more officers on the street to be more proactive than reactive.”
Bump told the council members it would take strategic thinking and a well-thought-out plan from them, Trebatoski and himself to carve out the money for new hires.
In the Water Department, replacements of old meters has allowed the utility to bring down labor costs by a lot, according to Water Utility supervisor Tim Hayden.
The new meters are able to be read remotely by phone while driving past a house, instead of walking up and manually reading, Hayden said.
This cuts down on a lot of time and, therefore, money. Hayden said a stretch of meters that would historically take two weeks to be read now can be done in six hours.
The budget for meter reader pay has dropped from $7,500 to $6,000.
The budget has been moved forward by the city council to a public comment period. The next city council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5, at 7 p.m.