CITY OF MIDDLETON TO HOLD STAFFING REFERENDUM ON NOVEMBER BALLOT, ANNOUNCES INFORMATION SESSIONS
City voters to consider increased property tax funding to add staff in key departments, increase wages
On November 8, 2022, City of Middleton voters will be asked whether or not to increase property tax funding to add two police officers, one full-time parks maintenance crew member, one communications specialist, and increase compensation for current staff to reflect cost-of-living increases.
“Middleton is a growing community,” said Bryan Gadow, Middleton City Administrator. “But City staffing hasn’t kept pace. We need additional staff and increased wages to provide the level of service residents expect and deserve.”
The Middleton Police Department is experiencing an increasing number of complex, time-consuming calls for service, challenging officers’ ability to provide proactive policing services in the community. At the same time, the City’s parks staff is responsible for maintaining 800 acres of conservancy and almost 300 acres of active recreation land, with a staff of just six full-time parks maintenance staff. The Parks Department has not had funding available to hire any new, full-time parks maintenance staff for more than 24 years.
The City’s growth has also underscored its lack of available staff to provide timely communications to the public and support City goals of openness and transparency. If approved, the referendum would fund a dedicated communications specialist to keep community members informed about timely programs, resources and opportunities to engage in their city government and community.
Additionally, the City’s ability to hire and retain staff has been significantly challenged by its inability to adjust for changes in cost of living. In 2022 alone, the City lost 29 staff, including 17 of its 147 full-time employees.
“Currently, the City does not have funding to support additional staff or necessary wage increases,” said Gadow. “Voters will have the opportunity to decide if increased property taxes can help us address these needs.”
The November ballot will ask voters whether they approve a $770,000 increase in property taxes to fund additional staff at the Police Department and Parks Department, and the ability to improve public outreach by hiring a dedicated communications specialist, as well as improving recruitment and retention by providing up to a four percent cost-of-living increase to City staff.
If approved, the referendum would increase City property taxes by $19.79 annually per $100,000 in assessed property value. Because the City also plans to increase the levy up to its state-limited amount, the total City property tax increase on bills issued in December 2022 could be up to $32.35 per $100,000 in assessed property value.
City residents are encouraged to attend an upcoming information session to learn more, and make an informed decision. Public information sessions will be held at the following locations:
In the coming weeks and months, the City of Middleton and department officials will be working to educate the community about the need for improved staffing, the costs associated with its recommended staffing plan and the upcoming referendum. Additional information is available at https://cityofmiddleton.us/referendum.