Prescott City Council approves 2024 budget

Lt. position added to PPD, election papers due Jan. 2

By Danielle Boos
Posted 11/30/23

It was a full Prescott City Council for the Nov. 13 meeting as all alderpersons were in attendance to discuss the 2024 operating budget and levy.

With an increase of 2.49%, the property tax …

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Prescott City Council approves 2024 budget

Lt. position added to PPD, election papers due Jan. 2


It was a full Prescott City Council for the Nov. 13 meeting as all alderpersons were in attendance to discuss the 2024 operating budget and levy.

With an increase of 2.49%, the property tax general levy is currently proposed at $2,625,445. The mil rate for the City of Prescott would drop to $4.92 per $1,000. This is down from the $7.73 rate last year due to the reassessment of properties in the city that the state required.

City Administrator Matt Wolf listed the major factors for the increase, citing wage increases for 2023 and future commitments, fuel price increases, technology upgrades for police contractual services, an addition of a new public works employee, fire escrow for future truck purchases, return to original amount of parks upkeep funds, and the hope to limit the impacts of the 2025 budget so they are not “seeing a large spike in balancing that out.”

“We’re seeing that as a major increase to the budget,” Wolf said about increases in fuel prices.

He explained the city’s financial stability stating, “Our credit rating still sits at Aa3 as of our last borrowing in 2023. Additionally, the city has about 50% remaining of its borrowing capacity.” This includes the borrowing the city did for Locust, Elm and Washington streets. 

“That’s a B+ or A- there pretty much,” Alderperson Pat Knox commented.

“For a community our size, I would say it’s more an A+ rating,” Deputy Clerk Beth Lansing said.

Knox added, “We all work really hard to do that stuff and keep it that we’re in a good state and that’s something I wish people noticed more.”

Wolf said the debt service levy has increased by $29,123 due to the 2023 borrowing for Locust, Elm, and Washington streets. The increase in debt service will allow the city to take on future projects while maintaining the debt service level through 2028.

Wolf said Gov. Tony Evers and state legislation has brought a large increase in funding to municipalities. Shared revenue has seen the largest increase in funding since 2010, but the new funding is limited to Emergency Services, Police, Fire, and Public Works.

For 2024, the state increased highway aid by 3.6%.

“As a result of this new aid, the state did freeze the Expenditure Restraint Program for this year as well,” Wolf added.

The Utility Revenue Funds show the Sewer Utility Fund is in a very strong position with a fund balance, but due to upcoming water projects, the Water Utility is stretched thin.

The city’s largest operational expense is staffing and they are looking to add an additional Public Works employee since Prescott is growing and staff have been taking on more work duties due to more projects.

The city will increase wages by 7.9% for the 2024 budget based on step increases from the 2022 Compensation Study that showed Prescott city employees are paid 10% less than peer communities; this includes a 3% cost of living increase.

The 2024 budget also includes $388,090 in levied funding for capital projects. With no public comments or questions, the council adopted the 2024 budget.

Cross connections

As the council discussed the professional service agreement between the city and HydroCorp for cross connection control inspection, reporting and management, Wolf said the previous agreement was $13,800 but has increased to $15, 240 per year for two years.

“They do a full-service agreement which covers educational materials, inspection, and data management for those services,” Wolf said.
“Did we put this out for bid then?” Alderperson John Peterson asked.

Wolf said the city has used the same company for the last two agreements. He added that it’s a professional agreement, so it doesn’t have to go out for bid, but if council would like to, they could delay it and look for another service.

“I just wonder what other vendors might be charging for this same service. And this does not include residential?” Peterson inquired.

“No, single family homes are not included in this,” Wolf responded.

Alderperson Maureen Otwell said HydroCorp has been great to work with as she referenced past experiences.

“So, are we delaying this?” Mayor Robert Daugherty asked.

“No, no, no, no,” Alderperson Bailey Ruona answered firmly, saying that it was going to be a discussion for Public Works. “I still want to approve this.”

“That’s fine,” Peterson agreed. He looked back to Wolf, “So we’re required to do this due to DNR statutes? That’s the idea? To protect our water?”

“Make sure we don’t have any gray water backing,” Ruona said.

Peterson asked if each establishment gets inspected once every two years and Wolf confirmed that every two years, the establishments get a letter and educational materials of why they need the inspection. The council approved the two-year professional service agreement with HydroCorp.


Revisions for the employee handbook were brought before council to adjust the wording to explain overtime hours for public works employees. Wolf said in winter, public works employees received overtime when they plowed snow for the city in excess of their regular eight-hour workday, but in the summer, they had a flexible work schedule where they worked four nine-hour days and one four-hour day. Due to this flexible schedule, the wording surrounding overtime pay needed to be adjusted in the employee handbook.

Knox asked if public works employees are aware of this revision and in favor of it.

Wolf responded, “This is something whereas as administration, we would not want to pay them an extra hour of overtime, we want to switch to the 40 hours.”

He informed Knox that public works employees work four nine-hour days and one four-hour day during the summer months from Memorial Day to Labor Day only and they wanted to clarify the wording for the future.

Police department

The council created a permanent lieutenant position within the Prescott Police Department. In the case of the police chief’s absence or disability, the lieutenant shall be the acting chief and as such shall perform the duties and exercise the power and authority of the police chief but shall be entitled to no additional pay. Otwell questioned if the lieutenant should be entitled to an increase in pay depending on how long they would have to perform the duties of the chief. The Council approved the first reading of the ordinance with the intent to revisit the issue of pay at the second reading.

“We can make a change and then add it to the second reading and then bring it to the next Council meeting,” Wolf said.

Upcoming election

Daugherty said three alderperson seats will be up for election this year, including the mayor’s position.

“If you’re interested you can take out papers on Dec. 1,” he said.

Wolf said people can pick up papers now if they choose but they can’t start circulating them until Dec. 1. City Clerk Rashel Temmers said papers have to be returned to her by Jan. 2.

Other business

The council approved the Elm and Washington Street Concept Plan with a residential informational meeting scheduled for Dec. 14. Wolf stated this Concept Plan will go before the Parks and Public Works Committee at its next meeting.

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