County budget advances uncut

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN – The proposed 2018 county budget survived its review and public hearing before the County Board Tuesday unchanged.

But it was not without a spillover from the controversial Kohler Co. proposed golf course in the town of Wilson that threatened the county’s contribution to the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp.

Supervisor Brian Hoffmann, who represents two wards in the town of Wilson, moved to remove the $100,000 grant to the SCEDC from the budget.

“I believe (the SCEDC) has promoted the city of Sheboygan at the expense of the villages and towns,” in the county, Hoffmann stated.

He cited the attempt by the Kohler Co. to annex the Lake Michigan acreage it hopes to build a new golf course on from the town of Wilson to the city of Sheboygan.

“(SCEDC Executive Director) Dane Checolinski left the idea that the town of Wilson lands would be better off in the city,” Hoffmann said of Checolinski’s statements during consideration of the annexation by the Sheboygan City Council.

“I’m not the only supervisor who represents rural areas who thought Dane was a little over the top. We do not appreciate our tax money being used to support the city over towns and villages. We here in the towns and villages also pay taxes. The bottom line is that the town of Wilson was hurt by the SCEDC,” Hoffmann continued.

While he said he supported much of what the SCEDC has done for the county, Hoffmann termed his motion, “A shot over the bow to have them rethink what they’re doing, to work with the towns and ask them what they think.”

“I’m also a town chairman and I feel the need to speak,” Supervisor William Goehring said. “I understand what he (Hoffmann) said and I agreed with a lot of what he said. The SCEDC should not be picking winners and losers.”

Hoffmann’s motion to remove the contribution to the public/private economic development part- nership group failed by a vote of 16-6. Supervisors Jim Baumgart, Thomas Epping, Fran Damp, Steven Bauer and Richard Bemis joined Hoffmann in voting for the cut, while supervisors Keith Abler, James Glavan and Libby Ogea were absent.

The only comment in the public hearing on the budget came from Jodi Schoerner, CFO at Masters Gallery and a member of the SCEDC board.

Schoerner outlined many of the SCEDC’s efforts on behalf of economic growth in the county, including her company’s expansion in the village of Oostburg.

The $149,396,876 proposed 2018 budget will face its final vote by the full board at their Nov. 7 meeting.

“I’m proud to present a budget that has just a modest property tax levy increase,” County Administrator Adam Payne said in presenting the document for consideration.

At just over $48.5 million, the property tax levy is up 1.38 percent from last year’s budget. Payne noted that the increase is less than the increase in new construction value in the county over the year, which is the maximum amount of a levy increase allowed by state mandates.

Payne added that, with the new construction and increased valuation across the county, the property tax rate will drop from $5.65 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $5.45, a 3.6 percent decrease.

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