The budget would maintain the county's stable and strong financial position.
La Crosse County’s proposed budget for 2022 would lower the county's property tax rate and reduce debt, while making key investments in the county’s workforce and infrastructure.
Highlights of the spending plan, which will go to the full county board for a vote in November, were presented to the county board on Monday by Associate County Administrator Jane Klekamp. She noted the county was in a strong and stable financial position, with healthy reserves.
Other highlights of the county administrator's recommended 2022 budget include:
-2021 to 2022 overall expenses are flat at just over $170 million and the budget is balanced
-Continued investment in county roads with a third year of $5 million in highway borrowing
-Across the board 2% pay increase and a fifth straight year of no health insurance premium increases for county employees
-Increase in full-time employees (+20) will increase efficiency of public services, including support to those most in need
New positions created through the budget would include the addition of social workers and economic support specialists in the Human Services Department, a new epidemiologist position in the Health department, additional telecommunicators in emergency services, and a new community development specialist in the Zoning Department. The increase in the county workforce would be the first in seven years.
The proposed county property tax levy for 2022 is $37.2 million, or 22% of the $170 million in overall expenses budgeted for next year (other sources of revenue include sales taxes, state and federal funding, and revenue from solid waste and the county long-term care centers). The county’s property tax rate (or mill rate) would fall for the third year in a row to $3.25 per thousand dollars from $3.48 per thousand dollars. Total county debt, under the proposed budget, would drop from $76.8 million to $72.8 million.
The timeline for the county board’s decision-making process on the budget is as follows:
-Oct/Nov - Committee review of department budgets
-Special Executive Committee Meeting (date to be determined)
-Changes by county committees go to Executive Committee and/or full board in November
-Resolutions to full board after action by Executive Committee
-Public Hearing Nov. 8, consideration, and adoption by county board
Check back to lacrossecounty.org and the county's social media pages for more updates as the budget process continues.