Budget would increase county tax levy 2.26 percent

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Thursday, October 10, 2013

JANESVILLE—Under a budget proposed Thursday, the owners of a $100,000 house would pay $14.32 more for the county portion of their tax bill.

On Thursday, the Rock County Board of Supervisors got its first look at the 2014 budget.

It's a budget that includes $191.99 million in spending, with $62.5 million coming from the property tax levy. That $62.5 million is up $1.38 million or 2.26 percent from last year.

Rock County Administrator Craig Knutson told the board that the budget included an increase of $11.24 million in spending, or a 6.22 percent increase. A majority of that $11.24 million, however, would not come from 2014 county tax dollars, he said.

Of that amount,

—$2.4 million comes from the state and will be used to help the Southern Consortium implement the Affordable Health Care Act. The consortium is a group of seven counties that work together to provide such benefits as BadgerCare and food stamps, which is now call FoodShare.

Rock County is the head of the consortium, and serves as an administrator for state funds.

—$5.66 million will be used for the “County G mega project.”

The project is the reconstruction of County G and the construction of a new road that will run from County G to County S and then to Interstate 90/39.

The roads will be used as alternative routes during upcoming construction or in case of an accident on the Interstate.

The county used money from its general fund, sales tax revenue and deferred financing—a loan—to cover the cost.

County policy states that its fund balance should represent between 10 percent to 17 percent of total expenditures, Knutson said. As of December 2012, the fund balance was at 20.11 percent.

The remaining amount, about $3.26 million, represents an increase in spending for all other county departments.

The 2014 budget includes money for:

—Construction of an outdoor recreation yard at the youth services center next to the jail.

—A mass notification and security system project at UW-Rock County.

—Improving coverage by the voice radio system for emergencies. A new tower and radio and building will be built in the Edgerton area. Law enforcement and fire receiver sites will be added at Blackhawk Technical College.

—Two new positions in the Rock County Sheriff's Office: a detective and a deputy sheriff. The Sheriff's Office eliminated a detective position several years ago. The position is being added back because of an increased number of cases. The deputy's primary assignment will be on snowmobile and water patrol.

The budget document has been several months in the making. It will not be approved until the board's meeting Nov. 12.

Until then, department heads and members of the public have a chance to lobby for changes. The public hearing on the budget will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6.

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