Alderman will vote no on city budget

To the editor:

As an alderperson for the past 15 years, I have served on most of the committees/commissions. I currently serve on the Shawano Municipal Utilities commission. I also serve on the city finance committee with Sandy Steinke and Rhonda Strebel. Mayor Jeanne Cronce is ad hoc member.

Putting together an annual budget is time and labor intensive. Elected officials meet with the city administrator, department heads and staff to review the draft budgets and concerns. Many meetings follow.

As the numbers started coming together, I was very thankful to both the Shawano school board and the county board members for adopting budgets with decreased taxes. I would also like to thank Sheriff Adam Bieber for withdrawing the request for monetary assistance from the city for the evidence center for the 2018 budget.

The city’s portion of the 2018 taxes will see a huge hike; the largest I can recollect. Although taxpayers might have enjoyed a sizable tax decrease due to the county and school budgets, at least the increase from the city has been neutralized by their efforts.

There are numerous reasons for the large increase, several of which I don’t support. There is also a wheel tax looming. I do not support a wheel tax and I am concerned about salary increases at SMU and a rate case review one year after having a rate change.

Additionally I am concerned we are adding too many Tax Incremental Finance districts, thus losing potential tax revenue for our general fund. I am also hoping we can find a way to minimize the use of costly consultants.

I have voted no in committees and want to thank the members of the finance/personnel committees, Mayor Cronce and the council for listening to my concerns and not taking my criticisms of the budget personally. As it stands, this is the first time I cannot in good conscience support the proposed budget. I will cast a no vote.

You, the taxpayers and ratepayers will have an opportunity to voice your opinion of the proposed 2018 city and utility budgets at the public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15 at City Hall. I hope to see you there.

Bob Kurkiewicz

District 1 alderman