SPARTA — The Monroe County Board of Supervisors approved the 2020 budget during its annual budget meeting Wednesday at the Justice Center in Sparta.
The budget was approved 15-1, with supervisor Paul Steele dissenting.
The budget will decrease the county portion of the tax bill next year by 6.7 percent. In 2020 the mill rate will decrease from 5.7230 to 5.336. The levy will decrease from $18,615,687 to $18,118,607, which means a $38.68 decrease in taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home.
Supervisors, by a 15-1 vote, also passed several amendments to the budget. Steele was the only dissenter. The corrections include: health insurance increase, dental insurance increase, highway property tax levy increase, local highway aids increase, county routine maintenance operating expenses increase, circuit court attorney reimbursement, circuit court Title IV E adjustment and a levy limit increase.
The board approved the levy limit increase at the board’s October meeting. In 2014 the board did not increase the levy to its maximum amount, or 0.311 percent. The funds from the increase were put into the county’s contingency fund, increasing it from $53,176 to $116,046.
Steele offered one other budget adjustment. He offered an amendment to eliminate $155,141 from the Rolling Hills capital improvements budget. He wanted to put $60,000 of the funds to dispatch to cover an additional position and for the rest to go into the county contingency fund.
The amendment failed 12-4, with supervisors Rodney Sherwood, Gregg Vinslauski and Pete Peterson joining Steele in favor.
Sherwood said he opposed putting large improvements into the building “if we’re going to tear it down. I don’t understand why we’re going to (fix it).”
Supervisor Mary VonRuden said some of the planned improvements are necessary to avoid penalties from the state. Facility improvements have been put on hold the past couple of years in anticipation of a new nursing home building.
“(The state) has been nice to us in some ways, but ... if we don’t get things fixed so (residents) can live there for a year or two, then we’re going to be paying penalties that are way more than $60,000 to make sure they have hot water and no asbestos in the floor.”