The Vernon County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2017 tax levy for the 2018 budget at its regular meeting, Tuesday.

The total property tax levy is $10,711,362, an increase of $135,809 from last year, or a 1.28 percent increase. This is due to the County’s Equalized Valuation increasing to $1,956,310,400 (an increase of $51,046,700) and net new construction increasing. The tax rate per $1,000 of value decreased 7 cents – (mill rate going from 5.55 to 5.48).

A resolution to operate and maintain the senior dining center in Viola at a projected yearly cost of $56,100 failed by two votes (14 yes, 13 no); a two-thirds vote was required. Lorn Goede and Will Beitlich were not present, as they had excused absences.

Prior to the vote, Pamela Eitland, director of Human Services Vernon County, said Richland County had been serving meals three days a week in Viola but because of budgetary reasons decided to discontinue serving meals and closed the site Aug. 16.

“We were contacted to see if we could open a site there,” Eitland said. “We’ve had enough revenue to cover meals to Viola since mid-August. If this (resolution) passes we would work to hire a manager; if it is not passed, tomorrow (Nov. 8) will be the last day of meals at the site.

“Since Aug. 16 we have delivered home meals and served at the site,” she said.

Supervisor Mary Bringe, who represents the town of Sterling and parts of the towns of Jefferson, Franklin and Harmony, said she drew up a map where meal sites are located and “(I) see we are well served on that side of the county. I am budget conscious. Nobody should expect to have one every 5 miles. These are levy dollars.”

County Board member Adrian Amelse said as of the last two to three weeks, there were six home-delivered meals served five days a week and six congregate meals (meals served at the site) four days a week. “That’s 3,000 meals per year at Viola. The size of the site is on par with Readstown and La Farge. It’s money well spent.”

The senior dining site is in a room in the Village of Viola complex.

Eugene Gabrysiak, Viola Village Board president, said the village had charged Richland County $200 per month to rent the site; and he said the village would be willing to offer the site to Vernon County free of charge.

Supervisor Shawn Redington said he was concerned what would happen if there was turnover of the Village Board and the offer to have the space rent-free was rescinded.

Eitland told the County Board home-delivered meals would continue to be served to Viola-area residents.

The County Board passed a resolution to continue contracted legal services with Abt Law Office at $125 per hour for corporation counsel. The contract is for two years.

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Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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