Uncertainty over the state budget has city officials worried about local spending next year.
The City Council voted Wednesday night to send a contract with Local 430 AFL-CIO International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers back to a committee that's already approved the contract twice.
But concerns over state revenue coming to the city next year prompted the council to send the contract back for reconsideration. At issue: Whether the city can afford to give any kind of raise at all.
Mayor Tom Friedel and Mayor-elect John Dickert traveled to Madison Wednesday to meet with Gov. Jim Doyle. While no one was talking specifics, the news appears grim on shared revenue for cities this year. Doyle is scheduled to give a speech today on cuts to the program, which coincide with reports Tuesday that the state was another $1 billion in debt.
Friedel said he, Dickert and 14 other mayors from around the state, met with Doyle.
"There's cause for concern," Friedel said about news that came out of the meeting.
The state's declining financial status is bad news for the city's electricians, whose news contract giving between 1 and 1.5 percent raises was already facing opposition from the full council.
"The question is whether we can give any raises," said Alderman Bob Anderson, who sits on the Personnel and Finance Committee and voted for the electricians' contract.
It's all tough news for Dickert, who will step into a job and likely have to cut spending to balance the city's budget. Short of a quick economic turnaround, those cuts could be deeper than anticipated.