Dodge County Board Adopts 2019 Budget

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board adopted its 2019 budget on Tuesday. There will be a decrease in the tax rate that Dodge County property owners see on their tax bills next month. The mill rate of $5.40 per thousand dollars of assessed value is down 10-cents from the number home owners saw last December, while county property values are up over three-percent to $6.3-billion dollars. The $112-million dollar document has a tax levy of $34-million, which is an increase of roughly $200-thousand dollars.

The majority of discussion Tuesday centered on two amendments to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Budget. The first proposed using $90-thousand dollars from the General Fund to purchase two new squad cars for the patrol division. Supervisor Thomas Nickel was in support of the motion and says the issue is a matter of public safety.

Supervisor David Guckenburger noted the General Fund had already been tapped for $2-million dollars to just balance the budget. He says the county cannot afford to continue that practice and is concerned about the county’s future ability to borrow money. The amendment was approved by a vote of 18-14.

Meanwhile, Guckenburger brought forth an amendment seeking to remove $208-thousand dollars from the Sheriff’s budget. The reasoning stemmed from early projections from Sheriff Dale Schmidt that estimated 12 positions would be eliminated if the old jail would be closed down. Guckenberger says now that the old jail is set for closure at the end of the year that number sits at nine. He says he does not have authority to eliminate three positions but he can remove the money to fund them.

Supervisor Kira Sheahan-Malloy says the matter is not about the jobs or any individual but rather removing the hours required to staff the old jail from the budget. Supervisor Nickel says too much has been read into Schmidt’s projections and believes the county is micromanaging the sheriff’s department. The amendment failed by twelve votes.

The final budget document passed on a 29-to-3 vote.