Proposed county budget reduces property tax levy

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN – The County Board received the proposed 2017 county budget that includes a modest property tax levy decrease Tuesday.

The $145,913,995 spending package will be reviewed by the full board at their meeting tonight, with final action slated for the Nov. 1 meeting.

The budget calls for a property tax levy of $47,861,055, a decrease of 1.03 percent from the levy for the 2016 budget.

That translates to a property tax levy of $5.65 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a decrease of 2.02 percent from the 2016 rate of $5.77.

County Administrator Adam Payne acknowledged that the decrease was due in part to the adoption by the board earlier this year of .5 percent county sales tax. Proceeds from the tax, will go into effect Jan. 1, will be earmarked solely for transportation projects and spending.

“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 in his report to the County Board.

The reduction in the property tax levy is the first since 2012 for the county, although Payne pointed out that the levy has been decreased five times in the last 10 years.

“Working together, we have made numerous cost-saving changes over the years,” Payne told the supervisors. “Our total payroll is less today than it was in 2008. That’s pretty remarkable, because we know the demand for services has not gone down.

“We have healthy fiscal reserves, an excellent bond rating and hardworking, caring staff providing high quality services,” Payne continued.

Total spending in the budget is up 13.5 percent, Payne said. “That is predominantly due to capital projects like the transportation complex.”

The county increased its borrowing limit this year in order to finance more capital projects.

The sales tax revenue, projected to be $5.25 million for the county, also offsets some of the $17 million in increased spending.

The county expects a total of $6.75 million in revenue from the halfpercent sales tax, but $1.5 million of that revenue will be shared with the cities, towns and villages in the county for their use for transportation needs.

During their meeting, the board approved a standard intergovernmental agreement for the sales tax revenue sharing. Sheboygan County is the only county in the state which has adopted a county half-percent sales tax that is sharing a portion of the proceeds with local municipalities.


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