MENOMONIE — The Dunn County tax rate is projected to drop by about 21 cents in 2018, largely due to increased valuation in the county.
The 2018 rate is projected at $7.36 per $1,000 equalized assessment, compared with $7.57 in 2017.
The total county 2018 budget is projected at $29.8 million, up 1.9 percent from the 2017 budget of $78.4 million.
Equalized value is projected to increase just over 3 percent in 2018 to $2.9 billion, up from $2.85 billion in 2017.
The 2018 tax levy is estimated at $21.6 million, up 0.12 percent from the 2017 levy of $21.59 million.
The 2018 budget does include $1.4 million in fund balance, which will stand at about $9.8 million at the end of December.
The budget includes a 7.5 percent wage increase to adjust the employee pay grid across the board.
County Manager Paul Miller said there is a need to address pay to keep staff — who are being headhunted by other employers — and to recruit qualified employees.
Miller said originally the 2018 budget was $2.6 million over budget. Department managers and Executive Committee members worked to cut about $1.3 million from department requests.
Miller cautioned the County Board that it cannot continue to pull funding from the county’s fund balance.
“We can’t keep dipping in,” Miller said. “We are going to be facing some hard decisions in fiscal 2019.”
County Board Chairman Steve Rasmussen said the fund balance has been level for several years.
“It all depends on how the managers do vis-a-vis their budgets,” Rasmussen said.
County Board members will hold a public hearing and are expected to adopt the budget Nov. 14. The board meets at 7 p.m. that day at the Government Center, 800 Wilson Ave.
The board heard about a plan to increase jail fees for work release prisoners from $16 to $20 per day.
For inmates who are unemployed and seeking employment, the rate will stay at $5 per day.
Other counties are charged $25 for each day they house their inmates at the Dunn County Jail.
All work release prisoners monitored with a GPS tracking device while on work release will be liable for an additional charge of $5 per day.
The board is expected to adopt the change next month.
Contact: 715-556-9018, firstname.lastname@example.org, @MenomonieBureau on Twitter