The Waupaca County Board will vote on a $5.45 million general obligation note when it meets Tuesday, Sept. 21.
The board voted at its August meeting in favor of a motion to combine 2010 and 2011 projects into a single note.
Department heads presented county supervisors with two options.
Under the first option, the county would borrow $1.5 million to complete two projects that had been authorized for this year: $860,000 to upgrade the Sheriff’s Department’s radio system and $600,000 for a construction project on County Road X.
Then next year, the county would borrow an additional $3.97 million for capital improvement projects scheduled for 2011.
Under the second option, the county would combine all the borrowing for both year’s projects into a single note for $5.45 million. The note would be issued this year.
County supervisors voted 16-9 in favor of the second option on Aug. 17.
However, when they vote on whether to borrow the money at their September meeting, it will require a three-fourths majority to pass. That means 17 yes votes will be required to pass the resolution for the loan.
Voting against the motion to consider the $5.45 million loan were Supervisors Dennis Kussmann, Darrell Handrich, Gerald Murphy, Bob Ellis, Jack Penney, Dave Johnson, Pat Craig and Don Morgan.
Craig, who represents the town of Royalton on the board, noted that the county’s 10-year plan for capital improvement projects (CIPs) was set to spend $3.88 million per year.
“I think that is too high for one year based on the plans we have been approving,” Craig said.
She pointed to the County Board’s history of voting down bonding proposals in the past.
“Back in 2008 when the CIP was presented for the 2009-10 bonding, it started at $10.949 million. Finally, the sheriff’s towers were taken out at $2.735 million and put separately to us. Then a $5 million CIP was defeated on the County Board floor and finally a $4.425 million bond for two years passed on Nov. 12,” Craig said.
She recalled how proposed bonding for the Highway Department had to be dropped from $3 million to $2 million in order to pass.
“Our direct debt burden right now is $573 per capita. Last year’s tax levy for debt was $1.41 per $1,000 or 24.36 percent of our total levy. Almost every quarter of a dollar of our tax levy goes to pay debt,” Craig said.
She recommended that the amount of borrowing for the county Highway Department be dropped by $1 million.
County Chairman Dick Koeppen said that Waupaca County was down to rebuilding only eight miles a year, when it needed to rebuild at least 17 miles a year in order to keep the roads maintained.
“If there’s one thing that my constituents want, it’s better roads,” said Supervisor DuWayne Federwitz.
Ellis asked why another $860,000 was needed for upgrades to radios at the Sheriff’s Department.
County Finance Director Heidi Dombrowski said the county was not awarded a grant that had been anticipated when the initial $2.73 million bond for the project was issued in 2008.
Ellis then asked if the communications project could be stalled and Sheriff Brad Hardel said it had to be completed this year.
Dombrowski said combining two years’ worth of bonding into a single note would save the county interest and issuance costs.
In addition to county road projects, the 2011 bonding includes money for a new recycling baler at the Waupaca County Transfer and Processing Facility, a new boiler for the heating system at the courthouse and jail, and improvements to the 911 emergency communications system.