SHEBOYGAN, WI (WHBL) - The Sheboygan City Council, meeting as a Committee of the Whole, talked budget for about three hours Tuesday night. Aldermen refused to recommend dumping the $5 a month garbage collection fee, and Mayor Terry Van Akkeren repeated his warning he will veto it if it reaches his desk. Aldermen voted 12 to 4 to endorse the 2013 budget containing the fee and a healthy reserve fund. There was plenty of discussion on the projected 1.2-million dollar surplus from this year’s budget and recent increases in the city’s reserve fund. Alderman Dave Van Akkeren said the city's reserve fund has increased in recent years and he called it "over-charging the people of Sheboygan." But Finance Committee Chairman Don Hammond said the reserve fund is needed to preserve the city’s bond rating. He said any surplus - if there is one - could fund some areas that the city badly needs, such as IT, vehicle purchase and maintenance, building improvements and infrastructure, and economic development. Aldermen then approved a recommendation that the city’s reserve fund be kept at 25 percent of the budget, and any surplus funds beyond that would go to fund infrastructure improvements or,with a two-thirds vote of the council, could go elsewhere, including back to the taxpayers. The 2013 budget won't be finalized until December.
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