Baraboo 2019 budget holds steady

October 9, 2018

Department heads will present to the Baraboo Common Council this evening an $18 million proposed 2019 budget, a slight decrease from this year.

The council is set to discuss its spending plan for the coming year, which as proposed would keep the city tax rate steady at about $11 per $1,000 in property value. Owners of $150,000 homes would pay $1,671 in city taxes. The tax levy would shrink slightly to $8.5 million.

In a memo to the council, Mayor Mike Palm reports $714,000 in money from the city fund balance would be used to balance the budget.

The budget is based on general operation costs rising 1 percent and wages rising 2 percent.

“We are able to accomplish the budget because of the hard work of our department managers and staff,” Palm wrote in the memo.

The only new staff positions proposed are a page for the Baraboo Public Library and a full-time training officer for the Fire Department. An operations study determined that adding the latter position would not only improve training, but would put another firefighter in the field to respond to daytime calls.

The budget would maintain current service levels, and would place a priority on road work. The city borrowed money to tackle a long list of overdue street projects this year, but heavy rains limited progress. Some projects have been pushed into 2019.

The budget calls for no new borrowing, but Palm wrote that next year the city will begin planning for a new fire station to be occupied by the Fire Department and Baraboo District Ambulance Service. Meanwhile, library leaders are planning for a future expansion of their Fourth Street building. They’re developing an online survey, visiting comparable libraries and having preliminary designs prepared.

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