As the weather changes and the leaves turn colors, there are certain inevitabilities every year. Local sports will consume the headlines, and customers will consume everything with pumpkin spice as an ingredient. However, one other inevitability within City Hall is that the next year’s budget will be prepared and presented for the council’s consumption. It may not be as good as a pumpkin spiced latte, but this year it should be pretty easy to swallow.
Before we jump into the draft 2020 budget preparation, I think it is important to take a look back at 2019 and see how that contributes to the creation of the 2020 budget.
The City of Milton was the fastest growing community in Rock County last year. This growth resulted in over $31 million in new value being created in the City. The City was also able to improve over 16% of our city streets. All while not borrowing a single dollar and keeping the tax rate as the lowest of any other City in Rock County. That’s right, the City of Milton was once again the lowest taxed City in Rock County in 2019.
Based on State Law, the only way a municipality is able to increase their levy, is to have growth occur. Therefore, growth is good news for the City of Milton budget, as it allows us to maintain service and staffing levels. The draft 2020 budget that was presented to the Common Council on Tuesday (10/15) night was a flat-line budget. This budget calls for level funding of capital, infrastructure, and non-profit allocations. The general fund expenditures only increase 2% which is accounted for in employee relations health care and cost of living adjustments.
This budget constitutes the 6th budget I have worked on at the City of Milton. I would not say this budget was “easy” but I will say it is likely the least controversial. This is a result of years of “smoothing” the budget as well as continued growth. Our goal is to minimize year-to-year undulations in the budget. This typically leads to a lower levy and a more streamlined process. Those actions are now bearing fruit.
The draft budget is currently viewable on the City’s website within the Common Council agendas. The Common Council will hold a public hearing in November and hopefully adopt the budget before December. However, there is still ample time for adjustments to be made by the Common Council, as well as input and suggestions from the public. If you have any questions regarding the budget or the process, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at 608-868-6900x6 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, please get out and enjoy the fall colors and all the wonderful outdoor activities Milton has to offer. And feel free to enjoy some pumpkin spice while you’re at it!