Bigger, But Not Long-Term (J486)

The Jefferson County Board held a meeting at the Jefferson County Court House on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. The main point of interest in this meeting was the introduction of the 2019 proposed county budget, presented by County Administrator Ben Wehmeier.

Tuesday night marked the first showing of the 2019 proposed budget, after the budget committee spend a week reviewing the full budget.

The proposed county budget for 2019 is close to $81 million, which is an almost $20 million increase from the 2018 budget. However, this budget amount is not long-term. There multiple “one-time capital” projects—park and road renovations—that are increasing the budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

The budget breakdown includes $6.325 million in sales tax and online sales tax, general state shared revenues, utility state shared revenues, transportation, advanced funding and capital.

On Oct. 23, there will be a public hearing for a chance for community members to comment on the proposed budget. In the weeks following the meeting, the budget committee and supervisors will go through an amendment process on the budget. The proposed budget must be finalized and sent to the state by Nov. 15.

Wehmeier explains the proposed budgeting process as a priority-based system. With resources becoming tougher and tougher to come by, it is especially important to focus on priorities.

“We have to look at [the budget] program to program,” says Wehmeier. “A lot of it is related to our strategic vision.”

Board Chair Jim Schroeder continues by discussing the need for a common system among departments. There are 26 departments in the Jefferson County system and it is important that each department is cohesive and effective. Schroeder explains that it is more important than ever that people trust the system.

Although the county is currently in a good place, there are always worries that accompany the budget. According to Schroeder, the county has to look at inconsistent entities long-term, like state budget and economics.

Luckily, the only debt Jefferson County has about $14.27 million left in payments for the highways shop.

“By the end of this calendar year, we will be fully closed on all projects,” says Wehmeier.

Wehmeier ended the presentation by encouraging community members to attend the public hearing on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Jefferson County Court House.

 

Additional news from the Jefferson County Board meeting on Oct. 9 includes:

  • The resolution in remembrance of Leon Zimdars. Zimdars, of Palmyra, served on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors for 12 years, from 1988 to 2000. He served on the Agriculture Committee, Board of Health, Countryside Farm Board, Health, Land Conservation Committee, Planning & Zoning Committee and UW Extension Education Committee. The resolution was unanimously accepted.
  • The sale of the Lake Mills highway satellite shop. The Jefferson County Highway Department no longer used the Highway Department satellite shop in Lake Mills, so the building was sold to Chandler White of CRW Company, LLC for $60,000. The sale was approved by the board.
  •  The denial of the claim by Joanne Vonachen. During the Jefferson County Fair, the scheduled Travis Tritt concert was canceled due to inclement weather. Vonachen purchased reserved seating tickets to the show, in addition to fair admission. She requested a refund for both purchases but was denied because the County was not legally responsible for refunds. The vote was unanimously approved.
  • The proclamation for 4-H week. 4-H is America’s largest youth development organization and is recognized nationwide during National 4-H Week. This year, the week of recognition was Oct. 7 through Oct. 13. Over 710 youth are active in 4-H in Jefferson County, in addition to more than 280 volunteer leaders and alumni. A proclamation was made that Oct. 7 through Oct. 13 is proclaimed as National 4-H Week in Jefferson County. All board members voted in favor of this proclamation.

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