The Dodge County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a county budget and tax request for 2019-2020 during its meeting Sept. 11.
The budget included an amendment by County Clerk Fred Mytty to raise the Flood Disaster Relief Fund from $4 million to $8 million. He said this change does not involve taxes, as it is offset by loans.
Chairman Bob Missel said the fund involves 25% of the $17 million given by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Although some of the larger projects are covered, including the federal highways, many projects don’t have that funding.
The budget included restricted funds, which include property taxes and pro-rate motor vehicle taxes and in-lieu of tax payments.
“If all these state funds decrease, it would allow us to increase the amount of property taxes,” Mytty said. “By the same token, if all of a sudden, all these state monies double, we would have to lower property taxes because our restricted funds is a grand total.”
Former Supervisor Paul Marsh spoke to the committee during its discussion on the county’s tax request. He commended the board for lowering levy taxes and said they had been “astute” on budgeting during the flooding.
“Having been in your situation, you have had, obviously, a year that I have never seen with flood damage and the cost associated with it and the cash flow issues that it’s created for you,” he said. “I was very, very pleased to see what you’ve done with your budget.”
Missel thanked the former Finance Committee chair and reiterated his statements.
“In light of everything that happened, it probably would have been easy to increase that [tax levy], but that is not our goal,” he said. “Our goal is to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, and I think we’ve done that in this budget.”
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Supervisor Lon Strand said the county is getting help from new property developments, which he said is something to be proud of.
“We need to realize we’ve been blessed with an increased valuation,” he said. “And I think it will tend to go up on everything non-ag related, but I think we could see some ag values go down at some point.”
Other agenda items included utility installation agreements with Northern Natural Gas Co., Black Hills Energy, and William Drilling. The board also approved the reappointment of Ken Molacek and Larry Ruzicka to the Board of Adjustment.
The board also unanimously approved funding for the Summit Grove Preservation Group, which has worked to restore and maintain the Summit Grove Cemetery eight miles north of North Bend since 2011.
“We really haven’t gotten a whole lot done this year with the flooding and the rain, but we’ve gotten a few things done,” group member Diane Emanuel said. “There’s a few new stones for some graves that didn’t have them before and Bruce [Ferguson] continues to do the mowing and do the upkeep and keep that kind of stuff up.”
Missel and Strand thanked Emanuel and said they were grateful for her work on the cemetery.
“If you haven’t been there on a dryer day, take a drive,” Strand said. “It’s a beautiful view, with or without the headstones.”
During a Board of Corrections report, Supervisor Greg Beam said 145 individuals were detained last month — a decrease of 16 from August 2018. But he said the last week-and-a-half has been busy, with 34 detained individuals.