The proposed city budget for 2020 revealed

The Whitewater Common Council on Tuesday revealed the proposed 2020 city budget. This new budget is around $9.8 million which is a 2.5 percent increase from last year’s budget.

The money for the budget will come from mainly property taxes and intergovernmental revenue from the State of Wisconsin. The rest comes from fines and fees.

City Manager, Cameron Clapper stated that gradually they are shifting funding from state funds to the city’s tax base. He said this process will continue to happen as long as state laws remain the same regarding different revenue streams.

 This shift will cause the tax levy to progressively rise.

“Our residents over time will be asked to contribute more and more of that tax base versus the intergovernmental revenues that come into the city,” Clapper said. 

 The city’s expenditures mainly include general operations, public safety, public work and transfers.

City employees might see a wage increase coming soon. There will be up to 1.5 percent in additional budget dollars that could be allocated to wage adjustments for positive performance reviews.

Yet, Clapper noted that there will be a 4 percent increase that is around $60,000 in additional costs for health insurance coverage in 2020.

This is a balanced budget, but there are still some challenges that remain. In the upcoming weeks, the Finance Review Committee will take a look at the proposed budget and make necessary changes.

On Nov. 5 there will be a final presentation to the Common Council and on Nov. 19 there will be a public hearing and a vote of approval to set the budget in stone.

Palmyra-Eagle school issue

The Palmyra-Eagle school district may be broken up. If approved, the changes would not take effect until July 2020.

Mark Elworthy, Whitewater district administrator and Matthew Sylvester-Knudtson, Whitewater School District business manager presented an update on the dissolution.

The Palmyra-Eagle school board voted July 1 to dissolve. The dissolution of Palmyra-Eagle still needs to be approved by the state School District Boundary Appeal Board and will have to make a decision by Jan. 15, according to Sylvester-Knudtson.

If approved, the School District Boundary Appeal Board will redraw the boundaries of the districts. The Whitewater school district could inherit a piece of the Palmyra-Eagle district.

Sylvester-Knudtson said, “we started planning internally for a couple of different scenarios” and they have been meeting with the seven school districts around the Palmyra-Eagle area as well as the Department of Public Instruction to get guidance on the process and funding.

In other action Tuesday:

  • Clapper declared Oct. 6 as CROP Hunger walk day. This walk will help raise awareness in the community about hunger related issues locally and globally. These events are sponsored by Church World Service and organized by religious groups, businesses, and schools. The funds raised will help to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world.
  • The Common Council approved Brad Marquardt, the DPW director’s request to paint a center line on Whitewater St. at its intersection with Janesville St. to alleviate traffic congestion.
  • Elworthy presented the Whitewater Unified School District Annual Report. Some of the topics included: Jerry Award winners, Ferradermis- Robotics competition, National Board Certified teachers, National FFA winners and playground updates allowing for more accessibility.
  • Clapper noted some major capital projects in regards to the 2020 budget. These include: lakes draw down project, amphitheater installation, police dept. radio console upgrades and Clay St. reconstruction.
  • James Allen, council member, urged a future agenda item to include code enforcement or a look into ordinances in regards to tarped cars on people’s properties.

For more information on the Whitewater Common Council, meeting agendas or meeting broadcasts visit:  https://www.whitewater-wi.gov/308/Common-Council