Citizen Wausau

A Site About Life in Wausau, Wisconsin

Voice the official Citizen Wausau blog

The Wausau Budget Arrives

by on November 4th, 2010

Well, it is that time of year again.  It is time for different governing bodies to figure out their budgets for 2011.  The preliminary City of Wausau budget has been discussed and has been sent back to the various departments to make some additional cuts.  Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to take a look at the Wausau City Budget, which is available on their website and was fairly easy to find.

Finding the budget was the only part of this that was easy.  The current 2011 proposal is a PDF file that is 155 pages long.  After skimming through it, I found on Page 20 what I was looking for, a summary page.  On Page 20, the budget is broken down into the major city departments.  It also lists the 2009 expenditures, the original 2010 budget, the 2010 modified budget, what the estimated actual expenditures will be at the end of 2010, and the 2011 budget.  There is also a column indicating how the 2011 budget compares to the original 2010 budget based on percentage change.

Being someone who actually enjoys numbers, you can really make them do interesting things.  There was a comment on the Wausau Daily Herald’s website about the Mayors office looking at a 12% budget increase while the inspections department is taking at 59% decrease.  That really says something, especially when taken completely out of context.  12% of what?  59% of what?  And, are there any other factors at play that goes into those numbers?

I decided I would summarize some of the more common budget items for our readers.  I decided to compare the 2011 proposed budget with the 2010 modified budget, because I assume that is the one that the city ended up using.  Also, rather than outline the differences in percentages, I will say it in real dollars, which is something that I think we all understand better.  Keep in mind, this is not the final budget and these amounts are subject to change…

The budget for the City Council for 2011 is $119,256, a nearly $2,000 decrease from the 2010 modified budget.

The Mayors budget is increasing over $26,000 to $240,864.

The Customer Service Budget is down over $18,000 from the 2010 modified budget, to $1,420,113.

The budget for garbage collection is going up nearly $91,000 to $1,258,870.  Tied to garbage is recycling, which is also seeing an increase.  It is going up over $15,000 to $670,775.

The Property Assessment office is getting a budget increase of nearly $57,000, bringing it to $614,742.

The Human Resources department is also looking at an increase, although a moderate one of just over $5,600 bringing their budget to $282,358.  Another modest increase is Legal Affairs, which is looking at less than $2,300 increase for a budgeted amount of 381,159 for 2011.

Although the inspections/electrical department is looking at a massive budget decrease of over $1 Million, which would bring its new budget down to $696,296, that is a little bit misleading.  A big reason for this massive decrease is that a number of the inspections department employees are being moved over to the public works part of the budget, which is getting increased over $1.3 million, to a new budget level of $8,204,385.

Although both the police and fire department are looking at very small increases when measured in percentages, because these are two of the largest budget items, even a  small increase is a good chunk of real dollars.  The proposed 2011 budget for the police department is just over $8.6 million, which is a $284,000 increase over the 2010 modified budget.  The $253,000 budget increase for the fire department would bring their 2011 budget up to just under $6.5 million.

As far as transportation items, the airport is looking at small increase of just over $4,200 to bring its total budget up to $192,173.  However, Metro Ride is looking at a $26,000 budget cut bringing it down to about $4.3 million and the Motor Pool fund is going down about the same amount to bring its budget in at just under $3 million.

With a nearly $75,000 increase in the parks department budget, they will now be working with just under $2.5 million for 2011.

One of the biggest single change in the budget is debt service.  Over $12.5 million was budgeted for debt service as part of the 2010 modified budget, but less than $9.5 million is being budgeted for 2011.  That is a decrease of over $3.6 million.

The biggest change is the capital improvement budget, which would go down over $5.6 million from over $11 million in the 2010 modified budget to just over $5.3 million in the 2011 budget.

I have left TIF expenditures completely out because they are a creature all their own.  With the TIF’s out, the total expenditures go down over $9 million, from about $76 million to just under $67 million.

This is very over-simplified and only looks at the expense side of things.  But, this should help give people an idea of just what it costs to run the City of Wausau and where the budget is sitting right now, this second.

Tags & Categories