Wausau's 2022 budget breakdown
How the budget is impacted by the employment crisis, cost increases
Mayor Katie Rosenberg announced this week something a bit alarming: In Wausau’s roughly $100 million budget (that’s all spending on all city things), the cost of doing business increased $1 million from the previous budget year. (Though it’s a bit more complicated, as we will see.)
Rarely is math that simple, but I will take it when I can get it. That means baring nothing else, costs in total have increased 1% for 2022 as it was in 2021.
What from? A number of the usual suspects are present here. Insurance went up 8.8% from the previous year, for example. Insurance is always a bugaboo for municipalities. Sometimes they can negotiate a decrease, and have a surprise windfall (or really, lack of expected shortfall, but its equally exciting for those tasked with creating the budget). Most of the time though, costs increase.
And equalized value changes can cause all kinds of havoc. That happened this year with the double whammy of the an equalized value correction on personal properties, and another in TIF districts. Either one means less in the city coffers, meaning a shortfall.
Mary Anne Groat in her presentation at the city’s first budget meeting highlighted a $560,000 shortfall department heads needed to address by presenting flat budgets and dreaming up some things that could be cut.
But that’s hardly all. Some new challenges present themselves this year: The specter of the employment crisis, and a roller coaster ride of equalized value changes. Below is a breakdown of where the budget stands currently, as it goes through the committee process.