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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Proposed Marinete County Tax Levy Is Down Slightly

Issue Date: October 25, 2018

Members of the general public will have an opportunity to speak for or against the proposed Marinette County Budget for 2019 at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 in the County Board room of the Courthouse in Marinette.

As proposed, county operating budget will be $54,730,723 for 2019, up $1,269,048 from last year, and the net operating levy will be $16,051,905, up $243,105 from last year. The operating levy tax rate for 2019 will be $4.192 per $1,000, down slightly from last year's rate of $4.257.

The 3.69 percent increase in the levy is permitted under state levy limits because a 3.69 percent increase in equalized valuation from new growth has been identified.

The debt service levy will again be 25 cents per $1,000, but debt service expenditures will be down considerably, from $4,428,296 to $3,061,975, with the intention of speeding up the debt retirement date. Goal is to pay off a 2012 bond issue when it matures in 2020. Sales tax money is also used toward debt retirement.

At the budget hearing County Board will be asked to approve an amendment to the published proposed budget increasing the 2019 Jail Assessment Budget account by $169,320.00 to fund camera system modifications and upgrade to include the replacement of outdated non-supported video data storage equipment and to increase the anticipated 2019 State utility aid revenue by the same amount to offset impact on 2019 budget. This follows a recommendation of the County Board's Administrative Committee.

A major change for next year will be the Coroner's position, which ends in January, when the term of incumbent coroner George Smith ends. At that time, as ordered previously by County Board, the elected coroner post will end, and be replaced by a hired medical examiner, which may or may not be full time. Budget for the coroner's office in 2017 totaled $57,224. In the 2018 budget the allocation was increased to $77,224, but projection for actual cost is listed at $58,729. The 2019 budget provides $105,831 for the Medical Examiner post, which is an increase of 37 percent. However, Administrator John LeFebvre has proposed adding some duties for whoever is hired to make it into a full time job. There are provisions for deputy medical examiners to fill in when the full time person is unavailable.

Other highlights of the 2019 budget increases are salaries and fringes associated with wage increases, increase in the number of full time positions, HVAC upgrade and demolition of jail cells in the old Ella Court Law Enforcement Center building adjoining the courthouse, increase in client need costs at Health and Human Services, increase in allocations for road construction, and an increase in funding for the Marinette County Association for Business and Industry.

The county budget includes user fees for various departments, including park admission fees, which has been a contentious issue. Park fees this year include $5 per vehicle for day use stickers, $200 per vehicle for annual use stickers, and $10 for annual stickers for active and retired members of the military, Marinette County employees and senior citizens. Campsite charges are $25 for most sites with electricity and $15 per night without. Fees for changing a reservation for lodges or campsites is $5. Charges for lodge reservations, Camp Bird, use, and other park facilities vary by park.

Marinette County's proposed operating levy of $4.19 per $1,000 compares with $4.87 proposed for Oconto County, and $4.93 proposed for Shawano County.

Of the $444 per year paid to the county by the owner of a $100,000 home in Marinette County, $4 goes to the Elderly Services program, $40 to Central Dispatch, Emergency Management and Coroner, $4 to child support, $17 to the Court system, $25 to debt retirement, $5 to Extension, $20 is used for general operations, $112 goes to Health and Human Services, $45 goes to highways to help maintain the county's 334.28 miles of roads, $17 goes to the Land Information System, $29 is used for library services, $12 goes to support parks and the Camp Bird Youth Center, $160 goes for public safety including the Sheriff's Department and jail, $3 goes for tourism promotion, $1 goes to UW Marinette campus buildings, and $4 is used for Veterans Services.

Several departments earn money which offsets the tax levy. Economic Development cuts the levy by $4 per $1,000; Forestry Department earnings provide $47 per $1,000 of income for county property owners, with nearly $3 million a year in timber sale revenue, and the Register of Deeds office collects recording fees that exceed cost of the office by $3 per $1,000.

In addition to approving the budget and tax levy, supervisors at the Oct 30 meeting will be introduced to Ben Hoppe, the new UWEX 4-H program coordinator for Marinette and Oconto Counties. They will have a round table discussion on the Economic Development meeting held on Sept. 27 with business leaders. A video tape of that session is available on line.

Supervisors who attended the WCA conference will report on happenings there.

Board Chair Mark Anderson will ask the board to approve recommendation of Mary Meyer of Pound and Ann Hartnell of Wausaukee for the Bay lakes Regional Planning Commission.

Approval is expected for an ordinance reducing the speed limit on County W in the Town of Stephenson from the intersection with Waboose Lane 1,330 feet west to the Marinette/Oconto County line, along with $200 of funding for the signs to with it.


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