Monroe budget calls for 3% tax hike


Herald Writer

MONROE — Residents are looking at a 3 percent increase in property taxes in 2001 if the city council passes the 2001 budget as proposed by city administrator Bill Verwolf.

The $38 million budget calls for an overall increase of 3 percent in the city’s tax levy. Cities are allowed to raise such levies up to 6 percent.

Monroe finance director Carol Grey said Monday that because of new construction, property taxes need to be increased only 3 percent to meet the proposed budget, which is up from this year’s $35 million.

The increase in the city’s daily budget is about 7.4 percent, reflecting a need for more police patrols, street repairs and public works services.

The budget calls for about a 3.8 percent cost-of-living increase in salaries for city employees. It also calls for increases for city administrators and department heads ranging from 3.8 percent to 14 percent.

The percent of increase in salaries is based on performance reviews and on a salary study of comparable positions in cities of similar size, Grey said.

For example, the city administrator’s salary will go from $92,547 to $96,203, a 3.8 percent increase.

Police Chief Colleen Walser’s salary will go from $78,000 to $81,000, an increase of 4 percent.

The salary of the assistant city administrator Perry Asher will go from $61,524 to $69,000, a 12 percent raise.

The largest percentage raise is for city engineer Brad Feilberg, up 14.41 percent from $60,312 to $69,000.

Some capital improvements also are planned in 2001.

The budget includes money to fund the construction of a new public works facility and improvements at the city’s waste water treatment plant. It also covers the costs of some remodeling of city hall and the police department building.

There are 10.5 full-time equivalent positions added in the 2001 budget. Among them are one police officer and a police administrative clerk, a payroll clerk, three utility/public works employees, a park maintenance worker, a recreation coordinator, and two waste-water treatment plant employees. A part-time position is suggested for administrative services, too.

Much of the need for those employees comes from growth, Verwolf said.

The city has grown by more than 500 people in the past year to 11,920 residents. It is expected that by spring the population will be 13,047.

Verwolf said the city’s growth has also added to its property tax base. The city is seeing financial gains from leasing property to a new movie theater. The theater also is bringing in added sales and admission taxes.

The proposed raises, tax increase and expenditures will be part of a public hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at Monroe City Hall, 806 W. Main St.

Increases in the city’s water and sewer rates also will be addressed at that hearing. The council is expected to vote on adoption of the budget following the hearing. A second vote will come in December.

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