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Council OKs 2018 budget

The pie chart shows the proportion of Superior property taxpayers spending that goes to the various taxing entities. Only about one-third of property taxes collected in Superior pay for city government and services. Courtesy of the City of Superior

Superior has a budget for 2018.

Taxpayers won't be asked to pay for a higher tax levy — that remains the same as this year.

And services won't be cut after city department heads took the reins to eliminate a projected $400,000 budget shortfall and find revenue to support City Council priorities.

In fact, the only change the Council made to the budget was to reallocate a small sum from the contingency fund for the first raises the Council could receive. It would be the first time in a decade the council's salary increases.

The Council amended by the budget by eliminating $1,442 from the city's contingency to allocate it for pay increases, increased expense reimbursements and Social Security allocations for the Council.

"This is just allocating the money," said Mayor Jim Paine.

City ordinance establishes the salary paid to the Council; that ordinance would have to be amended to allow the proposed 2 percent increase to go into effect. Even with changes to the city ordinance, state law prohibits the body from raising its own salary in the current term, so pay increases would roll out over the next two years.

Odd-numbered districts come up for election next spring and those councilors elected April 3 would be the first to receive a pay increase in 2018. The following year, when even-numbered districts face re-election, those elected to represent those districts would also receive a raise.

The Council currently earns an annual salary of $4,800 and can be reimbursed for up to $1,900 in expenses annually.

The last time the Council approved a pay increase for itself was in 2007, before the start of the 2008 spring election cycle.

The Council must change its ordinance before candidates begin circulating papers for the spring election in December.

Councilor Brent Fennessey said he is excited about the budget, which was created without service cuts and higher taxes.

"I just want to thank you (the mayor) and the department heads for that," Fennessey said.

"They put the best interest of the entire city ahead of their own departments and helped produce this budget," Paine said.

A public hearing on the budget is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in Room 201 of the Government Center, 1316 N. 14th St.

That date will have to change to Nov. 7 so the city can notify the public, according to Jean Vito, finance director and senior administrative officer. Wisconsin law has specific requirements for budget public notices.