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Rock County OKs levy raise

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ANN MARIE AMES
November 11, 2009
— With a few tweaks but not a lot of discussion, the Rock County Board on Tuesday morning approved a 2010 budget that asks for a little more money from county property owners than the one proposed by county staff.

The board approved a $57.22 million tax levy for next year, which is a 3.99 percent increase over this year.


That sets the county tax rate at $5.67, which is a 5.39 percent increase over this year.


The board voted to use property tax rather than sales tax to pay for $171,000 in road construction in 2010. That will decrease by a little county borrowing for capital projects next year.


The change follows the wishes of the board that created the sales tax, said Sandy Kraft, vice chairwoman of the finance committee.


“In three years, we have gone through more than three-quarters of our sales tax over to operations,” Kraft said. “This is a mechanism to slow that down so we can save our sales tax for capital projects.”


Sales tax dollars continue to fall below annual projections made since the county started collecting the tax in 2007. The county anticipated collecting $10 million in 2009, but at this point, that number looks like it will be closer to $9.5 million, Knutson previously told the Gazette.


In 2010, Knutson projects the county will collect $8.8 million in sales tax—a conservative estimate based on UW Extension annual sales tax estimates. He had proposed using $7.16 million in sales tax for day-to-day operations. The board’s approved budget brings that number down to $6.99 million.


The sales tax shift was the biggest change the board made to Knutson’s proposal.


Other changes proposed by the finance committee and approved by the full board include increasing the board of adjustment fee to $1,000, eliminating a proposed $50 death certificate signing fee and increasing a part-time child protective services social work position to full time.


The increase will be paid with grant money.


Other budget highlights include an $8.46 million upgrade at the Rock County Jail and a study of Rock Haven Skilled Care Facility.


The county will not use any money from its general fund to pay for operation expenses in 2010.


A look at the 2010 budget for Rock County:

Highlights: The county board approved the budget Tuesday morning. For the first time in several years, the county tax rate is increasing, although the increase will be balanced by a projected decrease in property values. Also for the first time in several years, the county will not spend any of its general fund for operations.


Total budget


Next year $170.8 million


This year $169.9 million


Increase 0.58%


Tax levy


Next year $57.2 million


This year $55.03 million


Increase 3.99 %


Tax rate


(Per $1,000 of equalized valuation)


Next year $5.67


This year $5.38


Increase/Decrease 5.39%


Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.



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