2019 Budget Proposed

The 2019 Jefferson County budget was proposed on Tuesday, Oct. 9. The board discussed certain criteria of the budget during the meeting such as where money is coming from, where money is going, and any future concerns for the county financially.

The budget is set to be just over $80 million. The 2019 budget has increased $8 million from the 2018 budget. This increase has been caused by certain, “One time capitols.”

Most of the money from the budget is brought in through property taxes ($29 million). Other sources of income include the .5 percent sales tax. Also, income is brought in by the fair park, which brought in $2 million throughout the 2018 season.

The health insurance for the employees of the county is also planned in the budget. $1.2 million will be saved from a new health insurance plan that the county has partnered with the state for.

County Administrator Ben Wehmeier was pleased with where the budget was at. Wehmeier stated, “We are in a good place right now and I am happy with how the budget looks tonight.” With excess money planned in the budget, the board is looking to make some bigger changes throughout the county.

One of the bigger changes the board is making, is the change in communication systems for the entire county. One of the biggest communication issues the board saw was with the sheriff’s office. The board approved a new communication system during this time do to the excess funding.

Other major changes include a new bike trail in the Oconomowoc area, the remodeling of the county highway shop, and the purchasing of new trucks and plows for the county. Wehmeier said, “Most of the states take care of the highways, but here it is done by the county.” Which means that a larger portion of the budget will be placed on purchasing new equipment to take care of the highways correctly.

Jefferson County was given a gold star review of their maintenance of highways in the 2018 year. Only three counties throughout the state of Wisconsin earned this award in 2018.

Another exception to this year’s budget was the addition of extra personnel in certain areas throughout the county. Sectors such as human resources, social services, and mental health experts will be added in the upcoming year. The addition of extra personnel was called a “Last safety net for citizens,” by Dick Jones.

Jones continued to talk about how families throughout the county keep moving in with different health issues. If a family cannot afford the services needed, the bill is put onto the county. For those reasons, Jones insisted that the addition of extra staff is important at this time.

The budget for the 2019 year looks strong according to the board. However, Jim Schroeder stated that, “We aren’t just worried about this year, we are considering 3 to 5 years from now.”

The county board is considering saving some of its excess funds from the one-time capitol to put it into a “rainy day fund”.

A positive outlook on the 2019 budget allows for more security later. The idea of using more data will be implemented throughout the next year when it comes to planning finances. Wehmeier stated, “We aren’t worried about how many pencils they are buying, but the outcome that occurs from that.” Optimism could be seen by the board and Wehmeier towards the budget to pass on Nov, 13.

The budget is to go through a public hearing on Oct. 23. The final vote on the budget will take place Nov. 13. The final budget is due to the state on Nov. 15.

The meeting also covered:

  • The Lake Mills satellite shop being sold
  • The resolution of Leon Zimdars
  • More in depth look into the purchasing of trucks and other equipment for the highway shop.
  • 4-H week being set in stone throughout the county





Landmarks to be Protected

Whitewater City Council proposed plans to increase fines for damage to public landmarks. In the councils meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2, a debate sprouted discussing fines needing to be increased due to recent damages to public landmarks.

Jimmy Schulgit, Alderman of district 2, was the lead activist for the increase. Schulgit mentioned multiple times throughout the discussion, of a “certain demographic” doing damage to public landmarks within the city.  The proposed fine increase by some of the council was near the one-thousand-dollar mark.

Historic home owners also cried out for something to be done to reprimand the vandals. Some of which claimed that the landmarks are marked and that they should be protected. Council member, Patrick Singer, however believed that if fines were increased for historical homes and land marks there could be larger issues at hand.

Singer stated during the meeting, “If we increase fines for historical homes, wouldn’t this create a second class of homes.” Singer, along with other council members, mentioned the idea to create better signage for these landmarks instead of increasing fines. The signage would help for an easier identification of a public landmark.

This motion was made only a few weeks after conversations of raising fines dramatically throughout the city were held. Council member, Stephanie Vander Pas, mentioned the idea that these fine increases seem to be targeted at the student population. Vander Pas brought forth the idea of lowering the fines, but having more rules and laws made to protect the landmarks.

However, after all the discussion no decision was made. The discussion of raising the fines was tabled for the next council meeting. Decisions on what, if any, increases to the fines will be made during the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

2019 Budget Proposed: Homeowners to Pay More

The city of Whitewater released its budget proposal for the year of 2019 on Tuesday, Oct. 2. City manager, Cameron Clapper, addressed the budget in detail during the city council meeting. Clapper estimates the budget to be $26,259,403 for total expenditures. Clapper mentioned that the budgets are funded mainly through taxes and intergovernmental revenues.


Homeowners in the county will be expected to pay more taxes throughout the next year. The city has an expected increase of $344,000. That increase will be paid through a raise in property taxes. The taxes are expected to be raised as followed:

Home Value:               Raise in Tax (From 18-19):

$150,000                     $75.39

$250,000                     $125.85

$350,000                     $175.91

One of the big projects coming from the 2019 budget, is a new roof for the city’s waste water treatment plant. A leak in the roof covering main areas is a cause for concern, which is why the city council decided in a unanimous vote to replace the roof immediately. This construction is projected to cost thirty-eight thousand dollars. Other projects of concern are expected as followed:

-Milwaukee Street Repair

-Old Mill Dam Repairs

-Ann St. Water Main Replacement

-Lake Drawdown and Dredging

Some major concerns that the Clapper and council are considering, is the idea of Limited Funding Sources. Which is the idea to find other ways to fund projects outside of property taxes.

Another concern is to make sure that the city can offer competitive wages for employees. Clapper explained that the city wants to be competitive with surrounding cities to attract more people to live in Whitewater.

Clapper also stated during the meeting, “The city will use some of the budget to keep up on the debts we owe.” Clapper noted that the city has obligations towards debts that need to be paid as soon as possible to stay on schedule.

The budget was only proposed in Tuesdays meeting. The finance committee will meet Oct. 4, 11, and 18 to discuss the 2019 budget. A final budget will be released by the council on Nov. 8, with a public hearing and final approval of the budget scheduled for Nov. 20.