Mayor's budget calls for 2.4% rise in levy

Speaker: Layoffs not in picture at this time

Sept. 29, 2009

Brookfield's aldermen will get a chance in the coming weeks to go over the city's proposed 2010 budget with a fine-tooth comb, but Mayor Jeff Speaker said he thinks the spending plan he introduced this week balances fiscal responsibility with a commitment to maintaining city services.

Under the proposed budget that the Finance Committee will start reviewing Thursday, the city's overall budget would drop 2 percent to $73.9 million while the general fund - essentially the city's operating budget - would increase by a little more than 1 percent, going from $36.3 million in 2009 to $36.7 million next year.

Speaker's budget calls for a tax levy increase of 2.4 percent to $35.1 million.

The city tax rate would bump up to $5.41 per $1,000 of assessed value, meaning the owner of a $300,000 home would pay $1,623 for the city portion of their tax bill in 2010.

The owner of a $300,000 home this year paid $1,590 in city taxes.

The rest of the tax bill is made up of taxes from the school district, county, state, technical college and, in portions of the city, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Speaker said this year's budget is "just an overall tightening of belts" in all city departments.

As part of the cost-saving measures, the city earlier this year froze pay rates for all non-union employees in 2010 and modified the timing of yearly raises. The city also reduced staffing by 3.4 full-time equivalent positions using a combination of current and anticipated vacancies and staff reallocation.

The recession has forced other communities and county and state agencies to resort to furloughs and layoffs, but, Speaker said, the city was able to avoid that path.

"I don't think the department heads, this mayor or the (Common) Council wanted to lay anybody off," Speaker said.

Speaker said he worked together with department heads to find efficiencies in their budgets.

"That's a healthy way of looking at things," he said. "I think we did more of the 'Are you sure you need that? Why do you need that?' "

Still, Speaker said, those decisions may be more difficult next year if the economy continues to stagnate.

"Unless things really pick up, next year's going to be tough," he said.


Important dates in the 2010 budget process:

Oct. 1, 7, and 8: Finance Committee deliberations on budget

Nov. 17: public hearing on budget and adoption by the Common Council


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