The City of Fort Atkinson has a Council-Manager form of government.
City Manager’s Role: The city manager is hired to serve the council and the community and brings to the city the benefits of his training and experience in administering municipal projects and programs. The manager prepares a budget for the council’s consideration; recruits hires, terminates, and supervises government staff; serves as the council’s chief advisor; and carries out the council’s policies. The manager makes policy recommendations to the council for consideration and final decision. The city manager also serves as chair of the city planning commission.
City Council’s Role: The city council is the community’s legislative and policymaking body. Power is centralized in the elected council, which, for example, approves the budget and determines the tax rate. The council also focuses on the community’s goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, and capital improvement and financing. The council hires the city manager to implement the administrative responsibilities related to these goals.
2022 City Manager's Message (from annual flyer)
Dear City of Fort Atkinson residents and taxpayers,
Your City government is responsible for mailing the enclosed tax bill as well as for collecting taxes by the deadline of Jan. 31. However, as you review the tax bill, I encourage you to consider the four entities that receive funding through your property taxes: the City, the Fort Atkinson School District, Madison Area Technical College, and Jefferson County. All of these entities use funding through taxes to pay for services that benefit the entire community. To learn more about the services provided by each entity, I encourage you to review the 2023 budget documents available through each entity’s website or upon request.
The City’s 2023 Operating Budget document is available for review on the City’s website (www.fortatkinsonwi.gov) under “Forms and Documents.” The Budget document provides a description of all of the services provided on an annual basis in exchange for your taxes. It also outlines goals and priorities for the upcoming year as well as information about the City’s portion of the tax bill.
As I am sure you noticed, the City’s portion of the tax bill saw a substantial increase this year, which has not been the case in the past. Note that most of the increase is due to the approval of the April 2022 Public Safety Referendum. With this voter-approved revenue increase, the City has been able to hire 12 new Paramedic/Firefighters or Advanced Emergency Medical Technician/Firefighters to provide 24/7, 911 EMS and Fire protection; and hire two new Police Patrol Officers to provide full-time high-quality public safety services to our residents, visitors, and guests. This is a long-term and reliable solution to the substantial increase in call volume and need for these services. We are hopeful that our State Legislators will understand the need for these public safety services and provide additional funding to support them outside of our general tax dollars in the future. City Elected Officials and staff will continue efforts at advocacy for additional and diverse municipal funding in 2023.
I am honored to continue to serve the City of Fort Atkinson as the City Manager. I take immense pride in representing this City and its residents. Locally, we have a lot to accomplish in 2023, and we look forward to continuing to provide the highest-quality municipal services at the lowest possible cost.
Please continue to engage in our community – through attendance at some of our wonderful holiday events; through volunteerism with service organizations or City boards, commissions, and committees; or simply by following our local businesses and institutions on social media. As we all stay informed and engaged in our community, we will continue to create a positive environment that encourages community growth and economic development.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!
Rebecca Houseman LeMire, City Manager