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Five things to know about the 2012 Rock County budget

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Catherine W. Idzerda
October 14, 2011
— Expenses are going up, revenues are going down.

It's an old story, but the 2012 Rock County budget presents special challenges for administrators, employees and, of course, people receiving services.


County Administrator Craig Knutson presented the budget to the county board Thursday. Board members will have several weeks to review the document before a more detailed review Monday, Nov 7.


The public hearing on the budget will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9.


Here are five things taxpayers should know about the 2012 county budget:


1. Less spending, more taxing. The total budget for 2012 would be $175.21 million, a 1.1 percent decrease, but the tax levy would go up from $58.93 million to $60.15 million, an increase of 2.1 percent.

Rules associated with the state-imposed levy cap would allow the county board to generate an additional $256,632 by raising the levy an additional 0.5 percent, but it would require approval from three-fourths of the county board. Knutson is not recommending the board pursue the additional amount.


2. Employee pension contributions. Starting Jan. 1, unionized employees would pay 5.9 percent of their salaries into their pension plans. This amount now is paid by the county.

Non-union employees began paying 5.9 percent into their pension plans Aug. 1 this year. Requiring unionized employees to do the same would save the county $2.9 million a year.


The change would affect some departments more than others. For example, the developmental disabilities department has a budget of $30.8 million but only eight staff. It would save about $24,000.


The human services department has a total budget of $52.6 million and 335 staff. That department will save approximately $960,000.


3. Dropping revenues. Although the county would save $2.9 million from the pension plan changes, state aids have been cut $2.6 million.

Many state funding sources provide less funding than they did in the mid 1990s, Knutson said in his letter to the board.


Revenue from investments and other sources of income are projected to decline $468,800.


When all sources are considered, the county will have less money than it did before Gov. Walker's changes to state labor laws.


4. Asking for less. Many county departments and programs asked for less money in 2012 than they did in 2011. Of the 53 funding requests, 21 decreased from 2011. Another six remained the same. Knutson reduced an additional six budget requests back to 2011 levels or less.
5. Fewer employees. In 2012, 13.3 full-time equivalent positions would be eliminated. Many of the positions already are vacant, and county staff hope to make up the rest through attrition or transfers. Since 2000, the county has reduced its workforce by 19.5 percent.

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