Proposed county budget shows slight reduction

SHEBOYGAN — The proposed 2017 Sheboygan County Budget was presented by County Administrator Adam Payne to the County Board on Tuesday evening.

The proposed budget includes a property tax levy decrease of 1.03%, or $498,582.

The proposed property tax rate is $5.65, a decrease of 2.02%, or 12 cents, from the 2016 rate of $5.77. As a result, on a $100,000 home, property taxes will decrease $12. The 2017 budget reflects the fifth property tax reduction in the last ten years.

The proposed 2017 budget consists of a total property tax levy of $47,861,055, and a total budget of $146 million, an increase of $17.3 million. The increase is associated with Capital Projects, primarily for the new transportation complex, which consolidates three older facilities into one. The annual budget supports 19 departments, 820 employees, implementing over 200 programs and services. Final approval of the budget will occur on November 1st.

During his report to the County Board, County Administrator Payne said the budget reflects excellent teamwork among County Board Supervisors and staff to be fiscally responsible and continue to provide quality programs and services. “The 2017 budget preserves core services that people need and value the most, such as law enforcement, health and human services, and our transportation system,” Payne said.

Payne said that Sheboygan County continues to be a leader of providing cost-effective, quality programs and services. “A combination of factors contributed to our balanced budget, including thoughtful County Board Supervisors, a strong management team, and the implementation of the 0.5% county sales tax to help maintain a safe and reliable transportation system and provide property tax relief,” Payne said.

“Working together, we have established priorities and have made numerous cost-saving changes over the years. Our total payroll is less today than it was in 2008. In fact, the property tax levy has been reduced five times in the last ten years. We have healthy fiscal reserves, an excellent bond rating, and hard-working, caring staff providing high quality services,” Payne said.

County Board Chairman Thomas Wegner said the budget process, which officially begins in June, continues to go as smoothly as he can ever recall. “Every year our budget process improves. We establish an overall budget goal, specific department levy targets, and work together to deliver cost-effective services to residents.”

Finance Committee Chairman Greg Weggeman also was pleased with the proposed budget.

“The budget process is very effective, and it demonstrates the strong leadership and teamwork we have in the County,” said Weggeman. “The action we took to address our growing transportation needs, share some of the county sales tax revenue with the municipalities, and reduce the need to borrow as much going forward was a major accomplishment,” Weggeman added.

County Board Chairman Wegner agreed. “The County Board is striving to maintain our county roads and bridges, and implementing the 0.5% county sales tax was a big step. It’s far more cost-effective and fiscally responsible to maintain our transportation system than delay and have to pay or borrow far more down the road,” said Wegner.

Chairman Wegner expressed his appreciation and said every department is contributing to the County’s successful track record. “The County Administrator, Department Heads and County Board as a whole work well together to reduce unnecessary expenses, establish priorities and find the most efficient ways to provide services,” said Wegner. “In a word, collaboration is a key to our success”, Wegner added.

Key new components of the 2017 budget include:

  • Funding to establish a Drug Treatment Court and provide non-hospital based detoxification services for people struggling with heroin and other drug addictions
  • Establishment of the 0.5% County Sales Tax to maintain our County Transportation System, purchase equipment, share revenue with local municipalities and provide property tax relief
  • Construction of a new Transportation Complex to consolidate three aging highway facilities
  • Reconstruction and resurfacing projects at the Airport
  • Courthouse Security Enhancements
  • Establish a County Prosecutor position to assume all juvenile delinquency duties and allow the current juvenile prosecutor to focus on termination of parental rights and guardianship cases to get children in safe, stable homes, rather than costly foster care
  • New Election Equipment
  • Full implementation of the Combined Emergency Dispatch System
  • New Sheriff’s Department Squads
  • HVAC upgrades for the University of Wisconsin Sheboygan
  • Roof replacement and Fire Alarm System upgrades
  • Rocky Knoll Nursing Home Resident Call System enhancements
  • Continued support for the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation