Janesville45.1°

County board OKs '08 budget

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ANN MARIE AMES
November 14, 2007
— It took some debate, but a new position at the airport got off the ground.

The Rock County Board approved Tuesday a 2008 budget that was $54,000 more than the one proposed by County Administrator Craig Knutson in October.


The change was the addition of a full-time working supervisor at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport. The board approved the new employee with a vote of 19-8.


Knutson had denied the request from airport Director Ron Burdick. Knutson tried to compromise by promoting one employee and adding a seasonal worker, a move supported by the finance committee and some supervisors.


“Let’s try to solve the problem without hiring another employee,” said Supervisor Chuck Elliott. “I think all the arguments are legitimate, but if we could get by without, let’s do it.”


Other supervisors said the county had used a Band-Aid approach for too long, leaving some maintenance projects undone.


“Not adding an employee is like if you’re in the water up to your neck in alligators, and someone asks you how the water is,” said Supervisor Betty Jo Bussie. “I really think we need this position here at this time. It’s a shame some of the responsibility has been put off this long.”


The position raised the county’s tax rate a little less than a penny from Knutson’s proposed $5.45.


Burdick said he could use the extra time to work on marketing the airport.


Other budget notes:


-- Although the tax levy is up, the tax rate is down because property values have risen.


-- A change in state funding allowed the county to save some money in child protective services. The savings were put toward a part-time health department technician to enforce food safety and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.


-- A climbing boulder was cut from Sportsman’s Park. The money will go toward well improvements at other county parks.


ROCK COUNTY BUDGET

A look at the 2008 budget for Rock County.


Total budget


Next year: $173.5 million


This year: $168.0 million


Percent increase: 3.27%


Tax levy


Next year: $53.4 million


This year: $51.8 million


Percent increase: 3.27%


Tax rate


(Per $1,000 of equalized valuation)


Next year: $5.46


This year: $5.59


Percent decrease: 2.4%


Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.



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