County Supervisors approve 2016 budget, mill rate increase

The 2016 budget of $16,409,245 and mill rate of a 2-cent increase were approved after the majority of the department heads presented their budgets to the Waushara County Board of Supervisors during a special meeting held Sept. 29. The supervisors approved the budget 10-0 after a discussion regarding the increase of $158,724 compared to 2015. 

The budget approved by the board has the equalized value of $2,403,248,500 and mill rate of 6.8279, which is a 2-cent increase from 2015. This approval allows for a $2 increase on a $100,000 home’s tax bill.  

When requested to prepare their budgets for 2016, the department heads were asked to try to work at keeping their budgets at a 0 percent increase. However, due to circumstances coming in 2016 and some errors in the 2015 budget, 10 budgets did show increase with the Human Services, Emergency Medical Services, and Highway Departments the most discussed budgets at the meeting.

Waushara County Department of Human Services Director Dawn Buchholz presented her budget, which showed an increase from 2015, she provided a breakdown as to what each of the programs her office provides and explained a majority of services are required by the state.

Buchholz also provided a number of options the human services home committee discussed to try to decrease the requested amount. One of the options was to allow for half of the requested funds be taken out of the unreserved/undesignated fund balance.

After a lengthy discussion following the presentation as well as at the end of the departmental budget hearings, Buchholz stated she could potentially increase her estimated revenue more than her initial estimate for 2016, and the board adopted the human services committee’s proposal to use the unreserved/undesignated fund balance to help offset the cost.

After cutting the new proposed budget of $211,518 in half by using the department’s unreserved/undesignated fund balance the board approved the increase to the human services department for $105,759 or 4.08 percent.

During the preparation of the 2016 budget for the county’s EMS Department, there were a few errors that needed to be amended from the 2015 budget, which caused for a $87,426 or 8.47 percent increase in the budget.

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