Supervisors hear Waushara County Administrator’s 2018 Proposed Budget
Waushara County Ad-ministrator Robert Sivick presented the 2018 proposed budget to the Waushara County Board of Supervisors during their regular meeting on Oct. 17.
When former Admin-istrative Coordinator Deb Behringer stated she would be retiring, the board changed the management structure from an administrative coordinator to an administrator, which shifted the day-to-day management of the county from the board to the administrator, including the formulation and management of the county budget, according to Sivick.
Previously, the depart-mental budgets were submitted, reviewed and approved by the departments’ oversight committees, now the budgets are submitted, reviewed and approved by the administrator. Having previously reviewed the budget on a line-item basis, this year’s proposed budget was presented to the board in summary, while the final approval of the budget still rests with the board, Sivick stated.
“The general change in the form of government and specific change in the budget process allows the board to focus on high level public policy formulation leaving the extensive and time-consuming management minutia to the administrator,” Sivick said.
In presenting the 2018 proposed budget, Sivick stated the total expenditures for the county is at $39,708,951 for a requested levy amount of $16,886,484, an increase of $3,068 from 2017. The allowable levy limit is at $14,363.974 with the county currently under the levy limit by $188,014. The mill rate also decreased from 2017 to 2018 by $0.16.
The two big increases in the budget Sivick explained to the board was the wage increase of 2 percent for all county employees and the health insurance increase of 27 percent.
“For the last decade, annual salary increases for employees have been between 1 to 1.5 percent. This resulted in employees’ income falling behind the rate of inflation and exacerbates the county’s chronic problem of recruiting and retaining talent,” stated Sivick in his memo to the board.
“2018 is the last year of the labor contract for county law enforcement personnel. That contract dictates a 2 percent wage increase. Additionally, 2018 will be the first year of the labor contract with Emergency Medical Services personnel which also dictates a 2 percent increase,” he added. “In order to maintain good morale, it is necessary to avoid the creation of privileged classes of employees, especially in light of labor resentment stemming from Act 10.”
Following Sivick’s pre-sentation on the proposed budget, Sivick also presented for approval the five-year Capital Improvement Plan, which “allows the county to identify large capital needs and expenditures and fund them over a period of time to avoid emergency expenditures, budget peaks and valley and allow for a more stable long-term financial and operational planning and budgeting,” he stated.
Sivick requested all of the departments to submit potential capital purchases and projects in excess of $5,000 needed in the next five years, which includes the intercom at the count jail, radio communications and EMS equipment.
For 2018, Sivick found the total capital expenditures to be $4,953,068, with $3,191,540 included in the 2018 budget. The total slated for long-term financing is at $1,761,528 with an anticipated interest rate of 2.2 percent and anticipated annual debt service payment being in 2019, $385,000.
Sivick also explained he included a $50,000 line item for a space study of the courthouse complex to look into the need to construct or rent additional office space.
In August, the courthouse ran out of office space and the use of space across the street has not been used efficiently, he stated. By performing a space study, a contractor can look at blueprints, need, traffic in and out of the building, and see where building renovations could be made.
During public comments, Jim Miller expressed issues he had over the budget where library services were concerned. The budget indicates a 2 percent increase for employee salaries, but libraries can’t provide that increase as well as the increase for health benefits.
Miller stated he felt that the libraries deserved additional money due to the increase throughout the county for employee compensation and requested in deliberation the board could find extra money for the libraries.
“Librarians do so much more than check out books,” he said. “The services are not just circulation related.”