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Dunn County approves $76 million budget, $21 million tax levy for 2016

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  The Dunn County Board of Supervisors has approved a $76 million budget and a $21 property tax levy for the 2016 budget.

The county board approved the budget and tax levy at the November 10 meeting.

At the October meeting, the county board reviewed a proposed $77.5 million budget for 2016.

Gene Smith, county manager, reported at the November meeting that $1.1 million had been removed from the proposed 2016 budget for the county’s self-funded health insurance.

Based on a comment by a county board member, Smith said he had reviewed the county’s self-funded health insurance and had re-evaluated the cost of retirements, the cost of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and the premium structure, resulting in a $1.1 million decrease for 2016.

The total appropriation approved by the county board for the 2016 budget is $76,165,783.

The total tax levy approved by the county board is $21,375,521.

At the October meeting, it was reported that the mill rate is expected to decrease by 4.78 percent and that equalized value in the county has increased by $126.6 million, representing a 4.82 percent increase, for a total equalized value of $2.75 billion.

The total property tax of $21,375,521 includes $475,618 for the forestry mill tax; $8,202,395 for the general fund; $2,956,151 for special revenue funds; $2,143,331 for debt service; $6,820,318 for the public works enterprise fund; $733,395 for libraries; $1,557 for special charges; and $2,759 for tax certificate chargebacks.

Smith noted that changes in the budget include $79,000 for the Criminal Justice Collaborating Council because of a grant has been approved for the treatment court as well as an additional $37,000 for the Neighbors of Dunn County for staffing changes and $5,000 for environmental services for water quality planning that will be done in conjunction with support from the City of Menomonie.

Other business 

In other business, the Dunn County Board:

• Approved a resolution to increase the wages for classified employees by 1.5 percent, to increase the payment in lieu of fringe benefits for eligible employees by 1.5 percent, and to increase the wages of unclassified employees by 1.5 percent. Employees who are paid more than the maximum amount on the grid will receive no pay increase. Grade 1/Step 1 employees start at $11.43 per hour. The maximum amount on the grid is Grade 25/Step 11 at $60.69 per hour.

• Approved a resolution adding to the job classes a human resources generalist and a deferred prosecution coordinator.

• Approved a resolution rezoning 24 parcels in the Town of Peru from General Agriculture to Residential 1 to correct maps for the Dunn County comprehensive zoning ordinance.

• Approved a resolution recognizing Sandra Johnson for her 23 years of service in Dunn County. Johnson has decided to leave her position as a registered nurse at The Neighbors of Dunn County.

• Approved canceling a list of checks that are over two years old and have never been cashed and credit those checks back to the general fund, including $2,210.36 to AT&T and $458.08 to Xcel Energy.

• Approved a resolution opposing state legislation that will change reimbursement for local health departments and will impact affordable reproductive health care. The background information included with the resolution indicates that under AB311 and SB238, reimbursements for supplies used in Dunn County would be reduced by about $115,000. Reproductive services in local health departments that do not perform abortions or make referrals to facilities that perform abortions “are being caught in the crossfire of legislation that appears to be aimed at clinics that provide abortions,” according to the background information included with the resolution.  In 2014, the Dunn County Health Department provided reproductive health services to 784 low income women and men.