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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

City council approves 2016 budget, tax levy

The Prescott City Council approves the city budget and tax levy for 2016 at its meeting Monday evening. The vote was unanimous 4-0 in favor.

The budget raises the tax levy 4.95 percent, much of the increase going towards public safety and the municipal court, including the hiring of a new full-time police officer.

There were several members of the audience expressing their disapproval of the budget, particularly the increase in levy and they spoke their opposition during the public budget hearing.

"The only way you could raise the levy by that amount legally is because of the business expansion here in Prescott with UNFI," citizen Jim Reichert said. "Well, I think that is a terrible way to go about it. Business expansion should be a means for tax relief, not an excuse to raise taxes."

Board member Robert Daugherty defended the increase saying the city had been frugal for years within the budget parameters set by the state.

"For the past four to five years we've been very stingy when it comes to the city budget," Daugherty said. "This is the first time in a long time the levy has gone up. We could have had more of an increase allowed to us by law but we chose not to. We're hiring a new police officer because we feel the city needs that and if we don't do so this year we have the chance, we're not going to get that chance again, not for a long while.

The council also unanimously approved contracting with Cedar Corp. engineering firm out of Menomonie to update sewer service charge rate schedules and they approved the first reading on an ordinance on cross connections for city water lines.

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