SHEBOYGAN, WI (WHBL) - The Sheboygan City Council voted Monday night to approve the city’s 2014 budget, but not before amending it to increase the tax levy by 293-thousand dollars. Alderman Jim Bohren was one of three aldermen to vote against the budget. He said it wouldn’t have been necessary to increase the levy if the city got a handle on employee benefits - specifically health insurance. Citing a national study, Bohren said the city is paying nearly 2-million dollars more for health insurance than the private sector would. He said, "It's not sustainable and if we get a handle on that alone we can maintain all city services." Finance Chair Don Hammond agreed, but said the city also has to stay competitive. He said the city can look at that again as the city negotiates union contracts for 2014 and 15. He called it a good budget with a property tax levy that's less than 2012. Total city spending will increase by about 1 percent next year. The tax rate for city purposes will go up by about a dime per thousand or about 15 dollars on a 150-thousand dollar home - not including the school, county or state tax. The final figures won’t be available for several weeks, but last year’s total tax rate, with all components, in the city of Sheboygan was $23.78 per thousand.
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