Port Council Approves Lower Budget, Levy for 2012
Port Washington Common Council thank Gov. Scott Walker for making the 2012 budget possible, ironically on the night a statewide recall effort launched against the governor.
Residents can expect to see lower tax rates in the city of Port Washington in the new year following the approval of the 2012 city budget and tax levy, which passed with a unanimous vote at Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting.
City Administrator Mark Grams said the city meets all of the state requirements for levy limits and expenditure restraints. Total expenditures for the general fund in 2012 are $8,622,156, which is a 1.24 percent decrease from the 2011 budget.
The property tax levy also went down. The proposed tax for 2012 is $4,729,571 or a decrease of 3.33 percent compared to the 2011 tax levy.
Two aldermen spoke out at the Common Council meeting to thank Gov. Scott Walker for making the decreases in the 2012 budget possible.
“I want to thank Gov. Walker. This budget would not have happened without his bold initiatives,” Ald. Joe Dean said. “Many local government officials were asking for help year, after year, after year and help came in the form of his election and what I think were very difficult and courageous budget decisions.”
Grams credited several things that contributed to the reductions, including the new state law which requires state employees to contribute 5.9 percent to their retirement and 12 percent for their health insurance premiums.
A crowd that grew to nearly 1,000 people gathered Tuesday evening at the block where Gov. Scott Walker lives with his family in Wauwatosa to kick off the first day of the statewide recall effort.
"It’s ironic that today, while this ridiculous recall is launched against Scott Walker, we’re passing a budget that lowers our taxes without any loss of services," Ald. David Larson said. "It’s because of Scott Walker’s budget repair bill that allowed us to do this kind of thing … His policies are working and they’re working in Port Washington and our taxes are going to be going down because of it."
Removing the recycling cost from the general fund budget is another item being credited for lowering the 2012 budget. The recycling cost has turned into a separate charge for residents.
“The cost of the special charge is $44 for any resident that receives that recycling pickup service from the city,” Grams said.
Grams also said the county taking over the city’s taxi program next year helped keep expenditures down.
“The county has been very cooperative with us on doing this changeover and I think it should go very smoothly when it happens on Jan. 1,” Grams said.
He stated that the city and county are working together to make sure residents will be serviced, even in emergency situations.
“They (the county) do request that they have 24-hour notice, but they are going to be working with us on that, so that in emergency situations — such as emergency doctor’s appointments — they will work with the individual to get them on a same day pickup,” he said.
A final tax rate number was not available for Tuesday’s meeting. That number wasn’t needed to approve the budget and tax levy. Grams said he had hoped to come up with a final tax rate number by next week.