MENOMONIE — The Dunn County Executive Committee discussed Wednesday the possibility of putting a referendum on the spring ballot asking voters for the right to adjust tax levy limits.

County Manager Paul Miller said the county needs to consider this option in an effort to bring in more revenue.

“It gives us a fighting chance to keep our heads above the water,” he said.

The bottom line, Miller said, is that the county is attempting to bring in more revenue to keep up with state-mandated service costs like human services and road maintenance.

The downside, Miller predicts, is that the county won’t be able to balance a budget in future years and be forced to cut services.

Miller suggested that the county be able to adjust the tax levy based on the consumer price index, which is a measurement of goods and services, combined with net new construction. This would give the county a percentage that could be used to adjust the tax levy.

Supervisor James Anderson said supervisors should meet with state representatives to voice the county’s concerns.

County Board Chairman David Bartlett and Miller said they were optimistic Governor-elect Tony Evers could bring positive change.

“I can only hope with a new governor that something in Madison will happen and change that,” Miller said.

Supervisor James Tripp said that a referendum isn’t something that you want to rush.

It would cost more than $8,000 to add this item to the April election ballot.

Supervisors would have to approve holding a referendum by early next year to get the question on the 2019 spring ballot.

No action was taken Wednesday. Bartlett said he just wanted to “plant the seed” when he made the proposal.

The proposed county budget for 2019 includes a property tax levy of $21.6 million, which is roughly the same as 2018.

Overall county spending is proposed at $85.6 million next year. The adjusted budget for 2018 is $80.4 million. Miller said the 2019 budget is balanced.

A public hearing and a vote on the final budget will take place Tuesday.

Contact: 715-830-5840, ben.rueter@ecpc.com, @BenRueter on Twitter

Reporter

Ben Rueter covers Menomonie and Dunn County news for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.