Vilas County's finance director, Jason Hilger, feels comfortable with the proposed county budget for 2018.
Revenues for 2018 are expected to be $35,015,653 while expenses are expected to be nearly $179,000 more than that.
Hilger said to counter that deficit and balance the budget, a transfer of $554,410 from the county's general fund would be made.
The tax levy would be $16,043,797 with a mill rate of 2.35, up from 2.28 in 2015 and 2016.
"I felt OK with the budget," Hilger said. "We made necessary capital improvements to roads and to the courthouse. Our debt payment was about $500,000 more this year due to the construction of the courthouse addition and the fact our existing debt had been declining."
He said that debt payment had been around $1.2 million the past several years.
Hilger said the levy increase of $800,000 will cover $300,000 in wage and benefit increases and an increase in debt.
The county's general fund, which he historically is fairly protective of, he said should be in the $7.3 million range.
"We ended 2016 at $8.1 million," Hilger said. "In 2017, we took out $650,000 for the build-out of the second floor of the courthouse addition and some security improvements. If 2017 finishes kind of flat, we should end at around $7.3 million. If we have a good year, we should end up at around $7.5 to $7.6 million in the general fund. It's likely that $554,000 we're showing to balance the budget won't happen. This budget doesn't alarm me."
He said his five years of working with the various department heads helps give him confidence in the budget numbers.
"I have comfort in our department heads and management staff that they will underspend budgets," Hilger said. "Even though we've planned that $554,000 draw from the general fund, I doubt it will be dipped into. I feel we'll end the year 2018 on a strong fiscal note as we have in prior years."
The county's budget hearing is set for the next county board meting at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24 in Eagle River.
Brian Jopek may be reached via email at email@example.com
Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
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