Officials predict little or no tax increase

By Jennifer Eisenbart

Staff writer

With very little discussion, albeit one no vote, the City of Burlington Common Council approved its 2012 budget Tuesday night.

The vote passed 6-1, with Alderman Katie Simenson casting the lone no vote.

The tax levy mill rate will be $7.58 per $1,000 of property value for the city portion of the taxes. Because of new net construction and the closing of TIF District 4, the city is claiming there will be little to no increase for the average property owner.

Exact numbers for the tax bill are expected later this week from the city, with City Treasurer Steve DeQuaker saying tax bills should be mailed by Dec. 15.

Simenson had two quibbles with the budget, which she voiced during the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday. She wasn’t happy with pay raises that were being given, and she also felt the city should have budgeted more for roadwork.

“I guess that’s pretty much my two gripes,” she explained.

The city lost about $119,000 in state aid, but because of overall tightening of the belts by various offices through increasing efficiency or cutting costs – and because the city chose not to rehire one open police position – the impact of that is negligible.

The police position won’t result in any loss of service, according to the department, because of increased efficiency in staffing there as well.

City Administrator Kevin Lahner said that, because the city had maintained a healthy fund balance, it was also time to use a little bit of it to balance the budget – to the tune of about $500,000.

The fund balance is projected to be $2.3 million – 32.3 percent of general fund expenditures.