The 2020 Budget hearings before the Kenosha County Finance and Administration Committee continue today.
All meetings will be held in the Committee room at the Administration Building, 1010 56th St. Quorums of other board committees may be present and hearing times are approximate. As one hearing is completed, the next scheduled hearing will begin immediately.
County Clerk — 6 p.m.
Register of Deeds/Elected Services — 6:15 p.m.
Treasurer — 6:30 p.m.
Information Technology/Land Information — 6:45 p.m.
Human Resources — 7:15 p.m.
Finance and Administration — 8 p.m.
Library System — 6 p.m.
Public Works — 6:10 p.m.
Human Services — 7:10 p.m.
Budget expected to be finalized Thursday
The nitty-gritty of the 2020 Kenosha County Budget will be reviewed during a series of hearings this week before the Finance and Administration Committee finalizes it Thursday for adoption by the County Board.
“This is where the rubber meets the road,” County Board Chairman Daniel Esposito said Monday. “The Finance and Administration Committee will take a deep dive into the budget that the county executive presented.”
As introduced by County Executive Jim Kreuser, total budget expenditures are budgeted to decrease 0.47 percent, from $235,244,918 in 2019 to $234,149,535.
The tax levy, or amount needed from local property owners to support county services, is budgeted to increase 2.97 percent, from $66.9 million to $68.9 million, which falls below the county’s full levy limit.
For a median home, valued at $188,950, up from $179,196 last year, taxes for county services would increase by $8.68, under the proposed 2020 budget.
The Finance and Administration Committee is scheduled to vote on the final budget resolution Thursday night. The full County Board will hold a public hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5. Final adoption of the budget is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6.
“I’m hopeful that the heavy lifting will be done on the committee level, as it should be, rather than at the last minute on the board floor next week,” Esposito said. “I’m looking forward to moving the county forward in a fiscally-positive direction.”
The three-day hearing schedule of hourslong meetings kicked off Monday night and included a review of the Kenosha County Sheriff, Joint Services, District Attorney, Juvenile Intake and Circuit Court budget proposals.
Law enforcement impacts
The contract settlement with the Kenosha County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and subsequent impact on command staff wages accounts for nearly 1 percent of the 2020 tax levy increase.
The proposed contract settlement attempts to make up the wage disparity between Kenosha County’s deputies and other area law enforcement agencies, including Kenosha Police Department officers, Kreuser said when he presented the budget earlier this month
The budget also includes a 2 percent across-the-board wage increase for Joint Services employees. The wage increase was approved unanimously by the Kenosha Joint Services Board, including representatives from the city of Kenosha, which shares in the costs of the service. Wages for Joint Services employees have also been falling behind, and 911 dispatchers have been difficult to attract and retain, Kreuser said.
Other proposed law enforcement impacts on the budget include:
An increase for the services provided by the western Kenosha County Fire/Rescue Safety Association for Technical Rescue, Recovery and Hazardous Materials Incident Mitigation Services.
Completion of the Simulcast Project, which will strengthen communications capabilities throughout the county for sheriff’s deputies and county fire and rescue services.
An additional full-time victim-witness specialist in the District Attorney’s office for advocacy of children in need of protective services, child sex trafficking cases and to take on the restitution and diversion programs that were shed by the state.
Renovation of the District Attorney’s offices to make room for an additional assistant district attorney position granted by the state of Wisconsin and to resolve other space needs in the office area.
One-time increases to speed up the judicial processing for children who would be available for adoption.
Hearings continue at 6 p.m. today and Wednesday in the committee room of the Kenosha County Administration Building, 1010 56th St.