WHITEWATER, Wis. — Oct. 24, 2017 — The 2018 budget was amended and will be brought back to the finance table for final drafting at the Jefferson County Board meeting on Tuesday night.

The countywide revenues have increased by $1.1 million.

Property owners will be pleased to know their property’s value has increased since the last budget analysis in Jefferson County. It has also seen a decrease in the mill rate.

The mill rate on a property is the amount of money a person pays per $1,000 of the assessed value of property. Though the mill rate had decreased since property value had increased, owners may not see the difference in their property taxes.

The mill rate is not the only increase to be seen in Jefferson County. Last year’s tax levy was $27,068,827, for the proposed 2018 budget the tax levy is $27,357,982. This is an increase of $289,155.

To determine the tax levy one must add the budget expenditures and subtract the estimated revenues and other financing services.

The rise in taxes can be contributed to the new highway shop built this year. County Board Chairperson Jim Schroeder said the county has had little debt to be repaid, until the shop was built.

Finance Committee Chair Richard Jones said it will take 20 years to pay the loan for the shop back.

“We don’t borrow money just to pay bills,” Jones said.

The tax levy increased in the human services department by $109,587. This department also has an increase in federal funding to help alleviate the costs of the growing opiate problem in the county.

Schroeder said there are 200 people undergoing treatment for an opiate addiction in Jefferson County.

Jefferson is one of many counties in the state joining the lawsuit again opioid drug manufacturers. According to Wisconsin Public Radio there is a projection that 60 to 70 out of the 72 Wisconsin counties will join the lawsuit.

Schroeder did not reveal much about the lawsuit. He said the legal team in Jefferson County was working on a strategy for the lawsuit.

There were two amendments to the proposed budget brought to the County Board Tuesday.

The first dealt with the Jefferson County Human Services Department (JCHSD) and the elimination of two full-time Community Outreach Worker positions, with a creation of two full-time Juvenile Justice Worker positions.

JCHSD received one of two grants in the state of Wisconsin called Youth Justice Innovation Grant for $250,000. Acceptation of this grant will allow JCHSD the enhancement of the family case management framework to address mental health.

It will also “utilize in several to support the project, including payment for contracted providers, purchasing of a risk assessment tool, training and new technology for eight Juvenile Justice Case Managers.”

The amendment results in $25,000 of the $250,000 going to the remainder of 2017, showing an increase in revenue and expenditures that cover the cost of salary and benefits. While the $225,000 will be used for the updates to JCHSD mentioned above.

Twenty votes of the 30-member County Board are required for the amendment to pass. The JCSHD amendment passed with 28 votes.

The second amendment proposed dealt with the Jefferson County Child Support Agency (CSA), The Child Support Director requested to eliminate two full-time Legal Assistant positions and create two full-time Enforcement Specialists I/II positions in June 2018.

The positions in the CSA are two-thirds federally funded through 2017 and 2018; this amendment would require an increase in Federal funding of $4,517 and an increase of tax-levy in the amount of $2,280 completion.

One department’s expenditures exceed its revenues by $182,738 is the fair park. Jefferson County’s annual fair is spending more money than available to it.

Schroeder said the park is used for one to three events every weekend, so the use is there, but it isn’t making money for the whole county.

He also said it has become more of a tradition than a place of revenue, this year was the 165th fair for Jefferson County.

“It’s bringing a lot of money into the community,” Schroeder said.

Though the fair park department does not make much money for the county, it is a tradition to have the fair and host events on the grounds. Schroeder said it won’t break the county to keep it.

The County Board will vote to pass the 2018 budget at the next meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Two County Board members were absent from Tuesday’s meeting. The members absent were Peter Hartz (District 12) and Blane Poulson (District 22).



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