Budget has 2nd Lowest Levy Increase in 14 Years, Invests in Core Human Services,
Public Safety and Highways
Standing with county highway workers who are readying for a busy winter of clearing roads of snow and ice, Dane County Kathleen Falk signed the 2011 Dane County budget today with no vetoes. The 2011 capital budget is down almost ten percent and the operating budget only increases 1.9%.
“The hard-working highway workers in this room represent the wise bang for the buck this budget achieves for county taxpayers,” Falk said. “We held down property taxes while making sure core county services, like snow-plowing, public safety, and human services are protected despite these continued tight times.”
Falk noted the budget she and county board created has a 2.9% levy increase, is the lowest in a decade and the second lowest of the 14 budgets of the County Executive. For the owner of the average Madison home (valued at just over $241,000) that translates into paying $29.72 more on the county share of the property tax bill. Under the County Executive’s 14 budgets, the average Madison homeowner has seen the county share of their taxes go up an average of only $12.47 a year.
More than 70% of the $500-million county budget funds human services that help seniors, vulnerable kids, and disabled residents have a better quality of life and public safety services (Dane County Sheriff’s Department, Public Safety Communications, Emergency Management, and District Attorney).
The budget has the highest amount of capital spending for the Dane County Highway Department in more than 14 years, including about $4.6 million for a series of important highway and bridge improvement projects across the county.
Due to higher than projected sales tax collections coming in the second half of the year, the county board increased the county’s reserve fund by $1 million to a total of $3.25 million.
“This budget means our taxpayers are getting better roads and bridges, workers and plows to keep those roads safe this winter, 559 sheriff’s employees on the job protecting our communities, and vital human services for our friends and neighbors in need,” Falk said. “It strikes the right balance between preserving our shared priorities while holding down taxes. I want to thank the County Board Chairman Scott McDonell and the county board for working together. The county board was able to pass the budget in just two and a half hours and that’s something we can all be proud of.”