11/15/17 – The Dodge County Board adopted the county’s 2018 budget at its meeting Tuesday with two dissenting votes. The Dodge County portion of the tax bill will see a slight decrease next year. The mill rate of $5.50 per thousand dollars of assessed value is down 13-cents from the number homeowners saw last December, while county property values are up over three-percent to $6.1-billion dollars. The $111-million-dollar document has a $142-thousand dollar decrease in expenditures from the current budget. The tax levy of just over $33.8-million dollars is up $558-thousand dollars from the current year.
The majority of discussion Tuesday centered on an amendment proposed by Supervisor Donna Maly to increase the Emergency Management budget by $40-thousand dollars for water rescue equipment for use by local fire departments. The original plan was to use sales tax dollars for a grant to be given to the Dodge County Fire Chief’s Association. During budget deliberations, concerns were raised about the proper use of the sales tax dollars so an amendment was introduced to use levy dollars instead.
Supervisor Jeff Berres spoke against the move, concerned that the money would not be dispersed evenly. He noted that there are fire departments in Dodge County that did not request water rescue equipment. Berres said if the $40-thousand dollars is on the levy, it should be equally distributed because all departments in the county have a hand in contributing to the levy. Supervisor Maly disagreed saying that certain fire departments situated near bodies of water – like Beaver Dam and Fox Lake – already own equipment. She noted that it is the county’s burden to its citizens to keep Dodge County lakes safe. The amendment to shift the grant funding source from sales tax revenue to the levy was approved by a vote of 16-12. The change is budget neutral and does not affect the levy. An unrelated amendment to trim a half-million dollars from the highway department failed by 25 votes.