That’s a very distinct possibility.
You see, a funny thing happened while Franklin residents were filling out and returning public safety surveys to determine if there could/should be a referendum to increase emergency personnel.
City officials, including the Mayor, Common Council President, and Director of Administration were prematurely and gleefully counting their chickens (and potential tax dollars).
And then the results came in.
The people who pay the bills didn’t buy into the pre-arranged script.
An unexpected split vote.
Hearts at City Hall sunk.
Folks were just itching to get a bigger swipe out of families’ wallets.
But they were stuffed at the goal line.
Oh that had to hurt.
Alderman Steve Taylor said at the August 7th Common Council meeting where results were announced that he had not received a positive response about the survey. Not one.
Aldermen will discuss what to do about a referendum at their next meeting on August 21st.
Please follow along about what might or might not transpire next.
A referendum would ask voters to agree to surpass state imposed property tax levy limits, in this case for the purpose of funding additional public safety personnel. This tiny little detail was put in place to prevent municipalities from going hog wild on spending.
Each year the WI Department of Revenue sets the property tax levy limits for municipalities on or before August 15th. As I write and post this, that would be Wednesday (tomorrow).
It’s not very prudent for the council to agree to a referendum at an August 7th meeting when it wouldn’t know the critical levy limit until August 15th.
After learning the levy limit this week could the council vote at its August 21st meeting to approve a referendum for the November 6, 2018 general election? Absolutely.
But remember, a funny thing happened with those surveys. Doggone democracy.
The resulting split vote means a successful referendum is no guarantee, much to the dismay of officials who practically had the referendum wording drafted in ink.
So, if no referendum this year, then what?
The next election wouldn’t be until February 19, 2019, a primary election with what will surely be a dreadful turnout.
Then It’s April 2, 2019.
That’s it for 2019.
Remember, to appropriately schedule a referendum getting the voters to approve spending beyond the state imposed levy limit you have to KNOW what the state imposed levy limit is, and that isn’t released until August 15th.
There is no November election in WI in 2019.
So…if there is no public safety referendum in Franklin this year, it’s not happening until the late fall of 2020, November 3rd to be exact.
It’s real easy spending other people’s money, except when you can’t.
Bummer for the tax and spenders.
Unless, of course a special election is called. A referendum held on a regularly scheduled election would cost Franklin about $2,000 according to info mentioned at the last Common Council meeting. It would be much more expensive during a special election.
Will Franklin aldermen vote to approve a November 2018 referendum knowing it could fail, leaving them with a big giant omelet on their face?
Remember, this is Franklin we’re talking about. There wasn’t a majority of survey respondents who opted for increasing property taxes for increased public safety personnel. That’s a fact that could easily be ignored. If the council ties on a measure to approve a 2018 referendum the mayor breaks the tie. And he would be Pavlov’s Dog at such an opportunity.
Here’s a possibility. Whatever Franklin wanted will be pared down and pushed through in the mayor’s proposed budget. Taxes go up anyway, even without a referendum.
In Franklin the taxpayer’s interest is never the highest priority.