City of Middleton to put staffing referendum on November ballot

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Voting generic(Tony Webster / CC BY 2.0)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The City of Middleton residents will vote on Nov. 8 whether to increase property taxes, according to officials.

The increase in taxes stated on the referendum would add two police officers, one full-time parks maintenance crew member and one communication specialist. Higher taxes would also increase compensation for current staff to reflect cost-of-living increases.

“Middleton is a growing community,” Middleton City Administrator Bryan Gadow said. “But 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 facing more calls for service, making proactive policing in the community a challenge, the city said. The Parks Department is also struggling to maintain 1,100 acres of land with six full-time maintenance workers, officials say.

City officials say the city’s growth has highlighted the need for timely communications to the public as well as communicating city goals to residents. The referendum would fund a communications specialist to engage residents in city government and community matters.

According to officials, Middleton’s increased cost of living has made hiring and retaining city staff a challenge. In 2022, the city lost 29 staff, 17 of which were full-time employees.

“Currently, the city does not have funding to support additional staff or necessary wage increases,” Gadow said. “Voters will have the opportunity to decide if increased property taxes can help us address these needs.”

The ballot will offer voters a choice to approve or deny a 770,000 increase in property taxes to fund the Police Department and Parks Department, hire a communications specialist and raise wages for city staff.

If the referendum is approved, officials say that city property taxes would increase by $19.79 annually per $100,000 in assessed property value.

The city encourages residents to attend the following information sessions to learn more about the referendum:

- Wednesday, September 28 at 6 p.m. in the Archer Room, Lower Level of the Middleton Library located at 7425 Hubbard Ave.

- Sunday, October 2 at 1 p.m. at the Lakeview Park Outdoor Pavilion located at 6300 Mendota Ave.

- Sunday, October 2 at 4 p.m. at Stricker Park located at 7605 Voss Pkwy.

- Wednesday, November 2 at 9 p.m. at the Middleton Senior Center’s Dining Room located at 7448 Hubbard Ave.