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Juneau County approves budget for 2020, mill rate goes down by 0.34
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Juneau County approves budget for 2020, mill rate goes down by 0.34

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JC Board

Chairman Alan Peterson of the Juneau County Board of Supervisors calls for a vote at a board meeting.

Despite an increase in the total levy, Juneau County taxpayers will see their individual rates for the county portion of property taxes go down.

The Juneau County Board approved a mill rate of 5.96 per $1,000 of assessed value in the county budget at the Nov. 5 Juneau County Board of Supervisors meeting, a decrease of 0.34 from the rate last year. The budget passed unanimously at the meeting.

County finance director Lori Chipman said the debt levy increased by about $268,00, helped in part by a 7.8 percent increase in equalized valuation.

“The total levy has increased… but the (mill rate) is down 0.34 from last year,” Chipman said. “Total equalized value increased more.”

The county is under levy limits set by the state, which limit the increases the county is allowed to approve for the levy by tying the increases to the percentage increase on net new construction.

According to Chimpan, the county saw a 1.731 percent increase for new construction, which represents an increase of $163,000 for operating.

The budget includes a $300,000 increase in salaries for county employees and a 6 percent increase for health premiums. About $210,000 from the land sales fund and $250,000 from forestry were applied to balance the budget.

A period of public comment prior to the board of supervisors meeting saw no comment from any member of the public.

New equipment

Members of the Juneau County Board of Supervisors approved a $700,000 loan from Royal Bank to pay for already purchased equipment for the Sheriff’s Department and Highway Department.

The amount was approved in the 2019 budget from last year’s budget meeting, but the county did not borrow the money immediately.

“It’s probably not the best financing process but we wanted to wait and see if we had to borrow the money,” Chipman said.

The loan is for a three-year term at a 2.1 percent per annum interest rate. Under the terms of the loan, the county will pay $245,000 per year for three years. Payments begin March 1, 2021.

The board also approved the purchase of a snowmobile for the Juneau County Sheriff’s Department at a cost of $9,745. The funding for the snowmobile is coming from the contingency fund.

In the resolution passed by the board, the Finance and Computer Committee notes the current snowmobile is 15 years old and the costs for continuing to repair the vehicle “do not make good fiscal sense.”

Other action

In other action before the board, the board:

Approved an increase in marriage license and waiver fees from $50 and $5 to $60 and $10, respectively. The increase is expected to raise yearly revenues by about $3,850.

Approved a land sale of tax delinquent property in Elroy to Jack Pilch for a bid of $551.

Authorized an increase in hours for Assistant Corporation Counsel Margaret Waterman from 20 hours a week to 32 hours per week.

Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.

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