Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 4:15am
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz issued the following statement regarding final passage of the city's 2011 budget.
"When I began my 2011 budget process, I set a goal of making our way through a third consecutive recession budget by protecting basic services while keeping any tax increase to a modest level. Facing a challenging climate, I delivered a budget that meets these goals.
"The budget the Council passed tonight has no reductions in police, fire or streets services and in fact, the major addition to my budget since it was introduced relates to public safety. With additional funding in the Police Department, we'll be able to begin the chronic offenders unit to target career criminals and keep our neighborhoods safe. Eight more police officers were added to the 2011 budget and 64 have been added in the last eight years.
"I presented a budget that kept the levy increase to 2.9% and taxes on the average home to 4.8%. I also challenged the Common Council to keep the tax increase on the average house under 5%. While even that increase is more than I would have liked, it is better than the alternative of slashing basic services or damaging our long-term fiscal stability. The Council showed restraint and delivered a budget that comes in just slightly above that mark.
" I also want to commend the Council for joining me in staying away from unsound budget practices that other governments too often exploit. By not dipping into the city's long-term savings, we will keep the city on strong financial footing and continue to be one of a handful of municipalities in the country to maintain our Aaa bond rating.
"It's my hope that we've seen the last of the Great Recession Era budgets, but there's no assurance of that. The fact that we've been able to get through this to this point without resorting to gimmicks and actually increasing basic services is a significant accomplishment.
"I want to thank Council leadership and the entire Council for a thoughtful and respectful budget process."
- Rachel Strauch-Nelson608-266-4611