City of Sun Prairie Mayor Paul Esser is pushing for year-round Sunday library hours, a city housing study and an expansion of the Neighborhood Navigator program in his 2020 city budget.

The proposed budget would increase taxes $62 on an average ($260,000) home. That’s in addition to a $33.96 increase in wastewater utility rates. Refuse and recycling fees won’t change.

The 2020 proposed property tax levy is $24.6 million, an increase of 7.6 percent over last year with a 3.017 percent tax increase.

Esser outlined the $111.8 million budget and initiatives he supported to city alders at the Oct. 1 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Citing the lack of affordable housing in the city, Esser endorsed a study to see what’s here, how much it costs, and what’s needed.

“I know that all nine of us [city council members and the mayor] are concerned about housing in the community—there is not enough and it’s too expensive,” Esser said. “We need to do this housing study as the starting point to document where we are and from there we will make the plans of where we need to go.”

Esser supports a scientific study of the city’s transportation needs but wants to hold off on hiring a consultant to look at new bus routes. He said data from newly-launched Metro Transit Route 23 needs to be evaluated before the city takes the next step.

“I think 2020 is too soon to study new routes,” Esser said.

There are $594,066 new tax levy supported initiatives in the mayor’s proposed budget.

Esser outlined a handful of new initiatives on Tuesday, including a new community events coordinator position, along with a reclassification of the BID Manager. He said those two positions would work hand-in-hand to boost the potential for city events, increasing marketing and sponsorship opportunities.

Alders are set to take up the proposed budget at an Oct. 15 Committee of the Whole meeting.

A public hearing on the city budget is set for Nov. 5 Committee of the Whole meeting starting at 5:30 p.m.

The proposed $62 tax increase (3.017 percent) on an average homeowner, is lower than last year’s amount of $74, but higher than the previous four years (2014-2017).

The city saw a 5.22 percent increase in net new construction— bringing in an additional $528,539 in tax revenue for the 2020 general fund budget.

The Mayor’s 2020 proposed city budget is available to review and download on the city website,

Follow the Star’s coverage of the 2020 city budget process in print and online at

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