Fulton City Budget Goes To Public Hearing Tonight

The public can have its say tonight on the proposed budget for the city of Fulton.  The legally required public hearing on the budget begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Common Council chambers of Fulton City Hall.  City lawmakers will vote on the budget immediately afterwards.  The city must have its 2010 budget in place by the end of the year.

The budget will spend about $120,000 more than the 2009 city budget, but the tax rate will not change.  It will stay at $16.40 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Mayor Ron Woodward has said that the no-tax-increase budget is the result of taking aggressive measures to save money, including combining the city Chamberlain and Clerk’s positions, reducing energy use at the Municipal Building and not filling a couple of other positions.  The city is also putting several industrial projects back on the tax rolls by cancelling payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements with the projects’ owners.

The lack of a tax increase will happen this year despite a huge increase in the city’s required contribution to the state to pay for worker retirements.  The state’s pension fund investments crashed when Wall Street crashed.  Local schools and governments have to make up the difference.

In 2010, it will cost the city more than $300,000 more than in 2009 for its share of worker retirements.  In 2011, there’ll be another increase to the city of about $400,000.

Woodward has said the city cannot absorb next year’s increase without raising local taxes.