This story is a perfect example of why the “no tax increases” and “cut, cut, cut services” mentality of so many conservatives in local government is so fatally flawed (emphasis added).
The cost of city operations and services is not sustainable and elected officials and residents will need to make hard decisions about what to cut next year, a budget memo sent to the Common Council states.
City Administrator Gerald Peterson and Finance Director Bridget Souffrant, who penned the letter, point out that taxes over the last five years have increased about half as much as the Consumer Price Index. They argue that, with rising costs and flat revenues, the city’s financial model cannot continue unchanged in the future.
The 2014 city budget calls for the property tax levy to go up $114,000, or 0.6 percent, over last year. That increase is allowed by the state due to new construction in the community. The CPI, which affects the price of commodities the city needs, such as salt and gasoline, has increased 22.6 percent from 2005 to 2013. However, the property tax has only increased 12.13 percent in that time, Souffrant said.
No doubt the City of Cudahy will be faced with a similar conundrum in coming years, given that the Common Council has already cut the city’s budget nearly to the bone and has now resorted to borrowing millions of dollars to fund capital improvement projects.