Waupaca County plans to increase its total tax levy by nearly $363,000 for the 2012 budget.
The county’s proposed 2012 tax levy is $23.15 million with a combined mill rate of $6.29 per $1,000 of equalized value.
The 2012 levy, if approved by the county board, will increase by nearly 1.6 percent, while the mill rate will increase by 4.25 percent.
“This has been a challenging budget to prepare, due to the current economy in Waupaca County, Wisconsin and the nation, and the reductions in state shared revenues, general transportation aids and other intergovernmental revenues received from the state of Wisconsin,” said County Finance Director Heidi Dombrowski. “These economic times are when a majority of our services are needed most by the citizens of Waupaca County.”
Dombrowski presented the proposed budget to the county board on Tuesday, Oct. 25,
A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the Waupaca County Courthouse.
Among the most significant changes in the 2012 budget, Dombrowski listed a $414,000 cut in state shared revenue, offset by a $654,000 savings due to increased pension contributions from employees.
The county is raising its levy for library aids by just under $76,000 (up 9 percent) and increasing the levy for bridge aids by $43,000 (up 81 percent).
The county’s debt service levy will be raised by $125,500 for 2012, an increase of 2.3 percent, while levy-funded capital projects will be increased by almost $61,000.
The Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department is projecting a $122,500 decrease in revenues from the jail.
Supervisor Jack Penney, of Lind, asked why jail revenues were declining.
“Every year since we opened that jail, we’ve been going down, down, down in revenues,” he said.
Sheriff Brad Hardel responded that the jail experienced revenue growth of nearly 10 percent for two years in a row until Waupaca County lost some of its safe keeper contracts for inmates from other counties and the state.
Dombrowski noted that the drop in jail revenues was due less to having fewer safe keepers at the jail than it was to lack of job opportunities for inmates who have work release privileges under the state Huber Law. Huber inmates pay a weekly fee of $140 if they are working.
“If a judge sentences them to Huber, that doesn’t mean they can find a job,” Dombrowski said. “That revenue has decreased by almost $100,000 since 2009.”
Dombrowski said the county decided to budget jail revenues at $1.1 million in 2012, rather than $1.2 million as it did in 2011.
The county is also anticipating a $100,000 increase in sales tax revenues for 2012.
Local sales tax revenues peaked at $3.04 million in 2005, then dropped to $2.79 million in 2006. In 2010, county sales tax generated $2.69 million in revenues.
The county is also budgeting $237,000 less in levy support for Lakeview Manor Nursing Home. Lakeview Manor’s expenditures of $3.89 million are now more in line with its state and federal revenues of $3.04 million. The county will support the facility with about $850,000 in tax levy funding.
The county’s debt service levy will increase from $5.43 million for 2011 to $5.56 million for 2012. The debt service mill rate will rise $1.44 per $1,000 of equalized value to $1.51 per equalized value.
Dombrowski explained that the mill rate is growing at 4.25 percent while the tax levy will grow at 1.69 percent because the county’s equalized property values dropped from $3.78 billion in 2010 to $3.68 billion in 2011.