WAUSAU — City leaders this week met in the first of three planned meetings to discuss a preliminary budget proposal released Monday by Wausau Mayor Rob Mielke.
Mielke calls the 202-page document, embedded below, a “work in progress,” as council members must now decide how best to trim spending amid a $327,000 budget deficit. The city is also awaiting final state transportation aid figures, along with health insurance numbers for 2018, according to the document.
The budget document outlines changes to Wausau’s outstanding debt, which was reviewed by the city council earlier this year. The city will have issued $19.325 million in new debt in 2017 and refinanced $7.6 million in utility debt, according to city documents.
These changes mean that Wausau expects to have $84 million in outstanding debt by Dec. 31 of this year, representing 50.47 percent of the city’s debt limit. The city’s statutory debt limit is typically held to below 50 percent.
The 2018 budget includes $8.5 million in financing for economic development, $2.83 million for construction of a skywalk on First Street and more than $2.4 million in capital improvement projects, according to the budget document.
In addition, the council is expected to consider fire station reconstruction in the upcoming year.
Council members will meet on Thursday and again on Tuesday, Oct. 10, to review the budget figures, according to the city’s meeting calendar.
By law, the city is required to hold a public hearing before the budget is passed, said Wausau Finance Director MaryAnn Groat. That meeting historically occurs the second Tuesday of November, Groat said.
“We will work closely with our financial advisors to ensure we structure these issues so they remain affordable,” Mielke wrote, in a letter included in the budget document.