Committee sends budget to board
JUNEAU -- The next stop for the 2019 budget is the Dodge County Board of Supervisors.
The Dodge County Finance Committee along with department heads and county board members moved it from the committee level Tuesday night.
The proposed $112 million budget includes a tax levy of just over $34 million, which would be an increase of approximately $193,000 from the last year. The preliminary tax rate of $5.40 per $1,000 of equalized value would be a $.10 drop from the number homeowners saw a year ago. Following Dodge County Administrator Jim Mielke’s budget presentation, Dodge County Board Supervisor and Finance Committee member David Guckenberger made a motion to eliminate $208,000 from the sheriff’s budget in what he named “labor” costs.
Guckenberger raised the number of positions Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt projected would be eliminated if J-Pod would close. He said Schmidt estimated 12 positions would not be funded, but said since J-Pod is set to close at year’s end, the number of employees that would go without funding is nine. Guckenberger said he does not have authority to eliminate three positions, but he can remove the money to fund them.
Schmidt said at a finance committee meeting Sept. 27 his budget is a “very lean one.” He said then he would not be able to fund nine jail positions, which includes eight correctional officers and one programs position.
Schmidt said Tuesday his department’s needs were evaluated by the finance department and his own office. Schmidt told the finance committee in late-September there will be a significant increase in the tax levy in Dodge County by at least $1.2 million if not closer to $2 million or more if J-Pod were closed.
“The very important portion of the $1.2 million that Mr. Guckenberger didn’t reference was the very conservative estimate,” Schmidt said. “Three very important words. We were not going to mislead you and say, ‘That it was going to be $2 million or $2.5 million.’ We made statements during those meetings that we believe they could be $2 million or $2.5 million mark but we wanted to be very conservative and we put $1.2 million on here based on our numbers. We believed it could be higher. We didn’t want to overshoot that amount.”
He said Tuesday he could not see losing any additional funds in his budget.
“I will tell you if we are cut back beyond what we are projected at for employees next year that will cause us to run short in the jail (the newer detention facility) putting us in the same boat we are at right now running short in the jail,” Schmidt said. “We will be calling for overtime to fill those shifts because there are manned posts in that jail that need to be filled.”
Schmidt said “if $200,000 is cut from his budget it will cause him to have overtime just because we have posts that we have to have filled.”
Guckenberger proposed the elimination of $208,000 from the sheriff’s budget in what he called “labor.”
Supervisor Ed Benter made a second to Guckenberger’s motion.
However, the motion failed 3-2, with supervisors and fellow finance committee members David Frohling, Jeffrey Caine and Thomas Schaefer voting against it.
Although the motion failed, Guckenberger plans to bring it to the county board’s 9 a.m. meeting Nov. 13, which is when the final budget adoption is expected.