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Appleton common council approves 2013 budget plan


APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - City leaders in Appleton have passed a budget for 2013.

Mayor Tim Hanna tells FOX 11 that each year gets more difficult to pass a budget.

"Revenues aren't increasing and demands aren't decreasing," Hanna said.

Wednesday's action on the near $150 million spending plan came after a 10-hour Saturday meeting a few weeks back and in a final vote after 3 hours of more talking.

Inside the budget, the property tax levy will be one percent lower in 2013 than in 2012. 

"Lots and lots of meetings and discussions about how we continue to provide the level of service our citizens ask for," explained Hanna. 

Before the vote the council discussed several amendments to Hanna's original proposal.

One conversation dealt with a new $1.4 million automated recycling program.  Some debated the allowance of one 96-gallon bin per household. 

"Some of our citizens are saying, 'wow that's a big container.  I don't want that big container,'" explained Hanna. 

Some alderpersons even asked if it might be a good idea to scrap the entire program.  In the end the council voted to move forward with only the 96-gallon bin option. 

Residents will have to pay $3 per quarter for the new program. That charge will only last for the first few years, until the bill for the bins is paid off. 

Another topic that drew a lot of conversation was the proposal to add one new police officer to the force each year over the next three years. But many alderpersons were concerned about the lack of a concrete plan for that amendment and voted it down.

"I think we made it clear to the Mayor it's something we want to see happen, but we need a better plan for it down the road," said Alderperson Curt Konetzke.