Florence County sets $11M budget for 2018

FLORENCE, Wis. — The Florence County Board passed its 2018 budget this week that holds the tax rate steady at $6.64 per $1,000 of equalized value and includes two proposed major capital projects — a new 911 system and county road work.

No one offered comments during a public hearing before the board’s regular meeting Tuesday.

Total expenditures are estimated at $11 million, up 15.3 percent from this year’s budget of $9.5 million. The increase is due to a planned $1.1 million county road resurfacing project and a $250,000 county-wide 911 system upgrade, Florence County Financial Manager Joe Bestor told the board.

Funding for the capital projects will come from money saved in the capital projects fund balance and the county roads and bridges fund balance, Bestor said.

The state dictates county tax levy limits, with Florence County’s set at $4.14 million for 2018. This is an increase of $23,856, or .58 percent, from 2017.

The county utilizes state and federal aid, grants and fund balances saved from the past to make up the $6.88 million difference needed for a balanced budget, Bestor explained. However, he noted the county does have a minimum fund balance policy requiring the general fund balance be 15 to 25 percent of annual expenditures.

Allocations to the county library, Keyes Peak Ski Hill and the economic development department were increased, while financial commitments to UW-Extension programs, veterans services, rescue squads and the county fair were maintained at existing levels.

In other business, the board appointed Greg Seibold to a three-year term on the veterans’ service commission.