(Juneau) The Dodge County Board’s Finance Committee began discussions on the proposed 2019 county budget on Wednesday. The $113-million dollar document as it stands now calls for a tax levy of $36.2-million which would be an increase of roughly $2.3-million dollars from last year. The proposed mill rate of $5.75 per one thousand dollars of assessed value would be a 25-cent increase from the number home owners saw last year. County property values would also see an increase of 2.4-percent to $6.3-billion dollars.
Driving some of the changes from last year are county department tax levy figures. One of the biggest items discussed during last night’s meeting was the $2.7-million dollar increase to the sheriff’s office budget. Several Finance Committee members as well as several members of the county board in attendance wondered why the number jumped so high when compared to last year. Chief Deputy Scott Mittelstadt says there needs to be balance between saving money and keeping enough employees on staff to avoid burnout and stress which could result in closing a jail pod and further lost revenues. The supervisors cited more needed to be done to cut costs following the closure of the old jail and that bringing employees to the newer facility would address excess overtime hours. Of the concerns closing the old jail would be the potential of sheriff’s office employees being laid off.
County Administrator Jim Mielke says moving forward all sides need to come to an agreement to avoid wasting time and to present a budget that will be supported. The Finance Committee will meet next week Wednesday. The goal is to find ways of lowering the debt service amount from $2-million dollars to one-million-fifty-thousand dollars by trimming some of the county departments tax levy’s. Final budget adoption is slated for November.