Shawano County supervisors adopt budget, levy

Equalized value increases, mill rate decreases
Kevin Passon

Shawano County uses its annual budget of $73.3 million and 386 full-time equivalent employees to administer more than 330 mandated programs across 31 departments.

The 2024 budget and corresponding $17.99 million tax levy were approved by supervisors Oct. 25.

“Overall, we have a very lean budget,” Jim Davel, administrative coordinator, told supervisors as he touched on several key aspects of the budget.

Health rate increases will be between 5-6%, although the original plan was a 10% increase.

“Additionally, we don’t have to switch carriers, so that’s a benefit going forward,” he said. “It’s about a $30,000 increase overall. We pay close to $6 million in health insurance … for all of our employees here.”

The county will use $1.1 million form its reserve funds as its matching grant amount for a $7 million highway grant.

“Because of our fund balance, we can spend cash for that instead of borrow or bond for that,” Davel said.

Also, fund balances in the public health and library accounts will be used for some of those 2024 operations instead of adding the cost to the levy.

“Over time, the board has approved money to those departments, and that money has not been utilized,” Davel said. “In this case, we did utilize some of those funds to help with the overall budget for those departments.”

Initial requests included 11 new positions within the county, but only five were added to the budget.

Although $100,000 in new requests were made for courthouse equipment, only the absolute essential $4,000 was included.

The levy includes $16.4 million for general county operations, $1.4 million for debt service, $175,245 for bridge aid, $676 for special charges and $3,525 for property taxes charged back.

Carrie Buntjer, finance director, noted that the mil rate will decrease to $3.89 per $1,000 or equalized value. In 2019, the rate was $5.32.

“Our equalized value has taken a large jump,” she said. “The equalized value went up 12.9% from last year to this year, and the year before was 14.6%.”

Typically, as the value increases, the mill rate decreases.

“For this year, net new construction came in at 1.35% or about $220,000,” she said. “Last year was $209,000, and the year before was $240,000.”

She noted the county will receive an additional $673,000 in state shared revenue this year. The millions of dollars in unused American Rescue Plan Act money generated $250,000 in interest for the 2024 budget.

The county has about $14 million in debt from two projects — the human services building and the jail locks. She said that by law the county could borrow up to $238 million.