Legislative Insights-December 2014

Tis the season once again in Manitowoc County. Yes the cold weather has arrived and the Christmas season is fast approaching, but first we will see the arrival of the Manitowoc County, City of Manitowoc, and Two Rivers budgets which will set the spending tax-payer obligations for the next 12 months.

Here are some proposed budget highlights from their organization’s websites.

Two Rivers
• The tax levy will increase by $177,425, which will translate into an increase of 3.8%.
• The General Fund budget, which includes police, fire, public works, parks and rec and various administrative departments, totals $9.67 million, up 0.96 percent from 2014.
• Taxes levied in support of the General Fund will be unchanged from 2014, at $1.94 million. State funding in support of the 2015 budget is $118,000 lower than a decade ago ($4,709,317 versus $4,827,807).
• Police and Fire employees will soon be paying 15 percent of their health insurance premium, as other employees have for the past year.
• Pension Costs. Police and Fire unions have increased their pension contribution to 6.8%.
• The Library budget is proposed to be supported with $563,362 in tax revenue, unchanged from the past four years.

City of Manitowoc
• Capital borrowing is set at $2,497,515 and falls within the promised $2.5 million dollar maximum under the 5-year plan. Paying off $8,115,000 in principal on past debt and $1,718,164 in interest for a total of $9,833,164 in overall debt reduction.
• The assessed tax rate would increase 1.96%. This means an average $100,000 home would see a $15/annual increase, or $1.25/month. This increase is also necessary to complete the transition from Capital borrowing to a pay as you go approach by 2018.
• Library allocation remains the same as 2014 at $1,370,425.
• Total full-time employees city-wide has decreased from 2014 to 2015.
• Continues building a contingency fund of $100,000 for unbudgeted expenditures.

Manitowoc County
• The proposed tax levy for next year provides the typical county property taxpayer with a slight tax decrease.
• This budget proposal contains a general increase in the base wage level of pay plan of 1/2% at the beginning of the year and an additional 1/2% at midyear.
• Health Insurance costs are increasing, adding 6% to our rates, at a cost of $261,000 in 2015.
• Budget proposal adds $100,000 in addition to the extra $400,000  added in 2014 for additional road construction for the highway department.
• Recommending a half time position in the Planning and Zoning office due to increased demand there.
• Recommending four positions be added in the Human Services Department partially funded with state money as part of the Mental Health outreach for children and adults.