space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Conference Play Begins for Area Squads
* Badgers Claim Early Supremecy in M&O Play
* Area Grapplers Take to the Mats
* Peshtigo Bowlers Off to Good Start
* Bighead Carp Caught on Lower Wisconsin River

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

County Board Keeps Sales Tax, Cuts Sunset Clause

After some long hard discussion at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, and at several committee and board meetings in the past three months, Marinette County Board voted 17 to 11 to remove the sunset clause included when the half a percent sales tax ordinance was adopted in 2001. The sales tax has been generating about $3.5 million a year in recent years.

Voting in favor of the motion that removes the sunset clause and in effect keeps the sales tax in place indefinitely as recommended by the Finance Committee were supervisors Joe Banaszak, Glenn Broderick, Gilbert Engel, Paul Gustafson, Kathy Just, Ken Keller, George Kloppenberg, Tom Mailand, Dennis Marcely, Don Pazynski, Al Sauld, Christopher Schmidt, Vilas Schroeder, and David Zahn.

Opposed to removing the sunset clause were supervisors Josh Anderson, Russ Bauer, Robert Holly, Shirley Kaufman, Fred Meintz, Rick Polzin, Janis Porfilio, Bill Stankevich, Clancy Whiting, Cheryl Wruk and Board Chair Mark Anderson. Supervisors Mike Behnke and Al Mans were absent due to illness and excused.

By removing the provision that would have ended the sales tax in 2021 County Board made it a permanent part of county finances unless further action is taken some time in the future. In doing so, the board broke a promise made to voters when the sales tax was adopted to pay for construction of the Law Enforcement Center.

At recent Finance and Executive committee meetings and during County Board discussion prior to the vote, County Administrator Shawn Henessee had warned that even if there is no new borrowing, if the sales tax were to end as scheduled in 2021 he would either have to cut $800,000 from the budget for each of the next five years or the property tax would quadruple after 2021.

State law limits property tax increases for operating expenses to the amount of new construction, which for Marinette County was .8 of a percent last year. The levy limits to not apply to property taxes levied to pay off long term debt. Since 2014, the county has borrowed some $$33 million for capital improvement projects. Starting last year, the debt payments exceeded the amount available from the sales tax and the difference was added to the property tax levy.

However, as Finance Committee Chair Vilas Schroeder has repeatedly pointed out, the Marinette County property tax rate remains the third lowest in the state's 72 counties.

As revised, the Marinette County ordinance allows sales proceeds to be used to pay for economic development, tourism promotion, capital improvement projects, long-term debt payments, and property tax reduction.

As requested by County Board last month, Henessee had prepared a plan for eliminating all debt by 2029 while maintaining the highway department and the county road system, but it hinged on keeping the sales tax in place.

It also required cutting additional borrowing for roads from the $19.5 million in the currently approved 5-year Capital Improvement Plan to less than $6 million, and no borrowing for roads in 2020 and 2021. It included cutting $100,000 a year from the annual snowplowing allocation.

The Highway Committee on Sept. 14 approved revisions to the capital improvement plan that removed several reconstruction projects entirely but did not replace them later in the plan. That brought objections from the Finance Committee at an 8:15 am. meeting that preceded the County Board session on Tuesday. Vote was to send the revisions back to the Highway Committee with instructions for them to come back with a plan for how to deal with these roads in the future. Projects removed but not replaced were $2.4 million scheduled for County W from Hwy. 64 to Hwy. 141 in 2017; $930,000 for overlay on County C; $345,000 for overlay on County P, and $1.365 for reconditioning County W from Reif Road to Hwy. 64 in 2018 , plus work slated for other roads in 2019 and beyond. No provisions were made for any of those projects in future years, or at least they were not listed in a long term capital improvement schedule.

Henessee had prepared a response to questions from Anderson and others in regard to an operating deficit, as well as a budget message and a plan for eliminating debt by 2029.

At the full board meeting, Anderson suggested separating the question, and subsequently the board approved the budget message but postponed adoption of the plan to eliminate debt. That plan included taking $10 million from county reserves if necessary. The reserves would be the $20 million that was put into a property tax reduction fund from the sale of Pine View Health Care Center and Bay Area Medical Center, the former Marinette County General Hospital.

Henessee said the county has been paying about $1.1 million more a year in employee health insurance premiums than other counties of comparable size, and that savings could be used to cut the impact of ending the borrowing cycle. He prefers not to use the reserve funds if possible.

Prior to the vote that makes the sales tax permanent, several supervisors referred to the promises that were made in the past.

"When we passed the sales tax we said 20 years, and the only way I would favor getting rid of it is if a good portion of the funds would go to the District Attorney's Office and the Sheriff's Department," Wruk declared. She said these are reactive departments which have no control over their expenses and need to be funded.

"The public did not want the sales tax," Bauer recalled. "We had to promise to end it in 20 years." He too opposed removing the sunset provision.

"I think it's a real mistake to send things in perpetuity forever," Holley declared.

Pazynski favored removing the sunset provision. He said a lot has happened in 15 years, and taxpayers in the county have greater and greater needs. "We're not taking food from children or the elderly," he said, and referred to the half a percent sales tax as such a negligible amount that no one would miss it.

"As much as we don't like it, we are in a difficult situation," commented Engel. "This is not a burden on anybody."

Sauve and Schroeder both mentioned that with the sales tax, the tourists who visit the county help pay for the cost of operating it.

Just wondered how they would replace the $3 million or so that the sales tax provides.

Polzin said eliminating the sunset provision gives a bland check to county government,

Meintz recalled a year before the sales tax was adopted there was a referendum in which electors rejected the sales tax idea, but then a year later County Board adopted it with the promise that it would end in 20 years, when the Law Enforcement Center was paid for.

Henessee said the decision was up to the board, but the only options to extending the sales tax would be to make $800,000 to $1 million in budget cuts each year for the next four years or increase the property tax levy for debt service to approximately quadruple the current property tax rate.

Henessee said as he looks further into the health insurance issue he is becoming more confident that huge savings are available.

He said Marinette County is paying $31,000 a year for every employee with family coverage, while other counties on average pay $11,000 less per employee.

"I want to be fair to our employees, but we also need to be fiscally responsible," he declared.

The county currently has a wage benefit study in progress, but that did not enter into the discussion.

In other action, the board:

*Easily approved revisions to the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance as recommended by Zoning Administrator John LeFebvre and the Land Information Committee;

*Adopted the MarOco budget as approved by the joint Marinette/Oconto county governing committee;

*Approved temporary committee assignments to replace Peshtigo Supervisor Mike Behnke until he is able to resume his duties on the board. The appointments put Phillips on the Law Enforcement and Emergency Management Committee, Keller on the Building and Property Committee, and Holley on the Personnel and Veterans Service Committee.

*Reappointment of Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz as a member at large on the Tourism Alliance Committee for a new term expiring in April of 2018 was approved.

*There were annual department head reports from Information Services Director Kevin Solway and Emergency Management Director Eric Burmeister.

*On recommendation of the Building and Property Committee the board approved agreements with SGTS Inc., for a building access control system at a cost of $114,563 for automatic locks and key fob entry system on doors at the courthouse and the Health and Human Services buildings, and with Camera Corner/Connecting Point for replacement of jail video system cameras and software at a cost of $140,972.85. Funding for both projects is to come from money borrowed for the 2016 Capital Improvement Plan.

*As recommended by the Finance and Health and Human Services Committees, the board approved transfer of $49,075.20 from the Health and Human Services Department Fund Balance to its Youth Aids account for juvenile foster care placement.

*A resolution opposing the proposed Back Forty mine project was approved without dissent.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
12-06-2017Sports
Conference Play Begins for Area Squads

12-06-2017Sports
Badgers Claim Early Supremecy in M&O Play

12-06-2017Sports
Area Grapplers Take to the Mats

12-06-2017Sports
Peshtigo Bowlers Off to Good Start

12-06-2017Obituaries
Carleton H. Warnecke

12-06-2017Obituaries
Sandra Rust

12-06-2017Obituaries
Laurie A. O'Connor

12-06-2017Obituaries
Mel L. Last II

12-06-2017Obituaries
David M. Kostreva

12-06-2017Obituaries
Mary Koehne

12-06-2017Obituaries
Karen J. Deau

12-06-2017Obituaries
Theresa Boettcher

12-06-2017Obituaries
Kathleen M. Wood

12-06-2017Obituaries
Mildred H. Winkler

12-06-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee School Holiday Concerts

12-06-2017Obituaries
John A. Wilson

12-06-2017Obituaries
Donald C. Reiter

12-06-2017Obituaries
Gary Keller

12-06-2017Obituaries
Kim M. Jones

12-06-2017Obituaries
William C. Holmes

12-06-2017Obituaries
Dorothy M. Butler

12-06-2017Obituaries
Peter C. Brown

12-06-2017Obituaries
Charles W. Boshan

12-06-2017Obituaries
Nancy Palenica

12-06-2017
Neil J. Ondracek

12-06-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Church Free Dinner, Movie

12-06-2017Obituaries
Gerald Lesperance, Jr.

12-06-2017Obituaries
James D. Kohn

12-06-2017Obituaries
Rick G. Klimek

12-06-2017Obituaries
Terrance R. Ingram

12-06-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Board Meeting Dec. 13

12-06-2017Community - Wausaukee
Ranger Booster Club Fundraiser is Feb. 10

12-06-2017Community - Crivitz
21 Crivitz Students at Education Fair

12-06-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Services, Free Dinner Dec. 24

12-06-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Christmas Float Made by Those with Disabilities

12-06-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Christmas Dinner

12-06-2017Community - Coleman
Founders of Coleman Cancer Event Raise Over $75,000

12-06-2017Community - Coleman
Swede Town Shed Damaged by Fire

12-06-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman Hosts Senior Citizens

12-06-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman Board to Discuss Two Overnight Student Trips

12-06-2017Front Page
Open House at New PCM Credit Union

12-06-2017Front Page
Lock, Gryzwa Will Not Seek Re-Election to Peshtigo Council

12-06-2017Front Page
Peshtigo Town Board Okays $925,412 Budget

12-06-2017Front Page
Marinette Firemen To Expand EMS Coverage

12-06-2017Front Page
Pound Parade Dec. 9, Special Meet Dec. 11

11-29-2017Sports
Bighead Carp Caught on Lower Wisconsin River

11-29-2017Obituaries
Frances T. Weimer

11-29-2017Obituaries
Donald Simonet

11-29-2017Obituaries
Bernard Pranica

11-29-2017Obituaries
John E. Pardee

11-29-2017Obituaries
Joan Paque

11-29-2017Sports
WIAA & Kwik Trip Resumes "Road Team of the Week"

11-29-2017Obituaries
Thomas Maye

11-29-2017Obituaries
Gerald Lesperance, Jr.

11-29-2017Obituaries
Deanna D. Koller

11-29-2017Obituaries
Ross F. Kies

11-29-2017Obituaries
Norman Jensen

11-29-2017Sports
Badgers Beat Rangers in OT

11-29-2017Obituaries
Paul G. Hoffman

11-29-2017Obituaries
Floyd W. Herson

11-29-2017Obituaries
Rose P. Hein

11-29-2017Obituaries
Connie A. Gustafson

11-29-2017Obituaries
Nancy I. Grun

11-29-2017Obituaries
Carl Francis

11-29-2017Obituaries
Rita R. Fitt

11-29-2017Obituaries
Elizabeth L. Felix

11-29-2017Obituaries
Lawrence Eichhorn

11-29-2017Obituaries
Larry P. Eatherton

11-29-2017Obituaries
William Doyen, Sr.

11-29-2017Obituaries
Robert E. Brown

11-29-2017Obituaries
Daniel W. Cloutier

11-29-2017Obituaries
William Caley

11-29-2017Obituaries
Helen M Bezio

11-29-2017Obituaries
Cheryl L. Aldrich

11-29-2017Sports
Marines Hold on for Tight Win in Peshtigo

11-29-2017Perspectives
Country Cousin

11-29-2017Perspectives
From My Window

11-29-2017Community - Wausaukee
Ranger Booster Club Fundraiser is Feb. 10

11-29-2017Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Board Hears Wausaukee School Report

11-29-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Church Free Dinner, Movie

11-29-2017Community - Wausaukee
796 Shoebox Gifts Collected for OCC

11-29-2017Community - Crivitz
Special Olympics in Crivitz Starts Dec. 3

11-29-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Village Board Approves Upgrades

11-29-2017Community - Crivitz
Middle Inlet Hosts Vintage Snomo Show

11-29-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Continues Discussions To Update Zoning Ordinance

11-29-2017Community - Coleman
Gift Baskets Topic at Library Dec. 6

11-29-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman Youth Wrestling Sign Up

11-29-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman Village Board Dec. 4

11-29-2017Community - Coleman
Senior Club To Meet on Dec. 4

11-29-2017Front Page
The Wall That Heals Coming to Crivitz Aug. 30 - Sept. 2

11-29-2017Front Page
Airplane Tampering Allegations Draw Objections, Responses

11-29-2017Front Page
Committee Recommends Keep Chicago Court Name

11-29-2017Front Page
Wausaukee Tax Rate Unchanged From 2017

11-29-2017Front Page
Marinette City Budget Public Hearing Nov. 30

11-22-2017Obituaries
Dolores Behringer

11-22-2017Obituaries
Mildred J. Berman

11-22-2017Obituaries
Mason S. Ermis

11-22-2017Obituaries
Phyllis E. Gretzon

11-22-2017Obituaries
Amina Hambrick

11-22-2017Obituaries
Suzanne Hansen

11-22-2017Obituaries
Evelyn B. Holl

11-22-2017Obituaries
Joan M. Johnson

11-22-2017Obituaries
Brian H. Jossart

11-22-2017Obituaries
Theodore B. Knutson

11-22-2017Obituaries
Donald Lewandowski

11-22-2017Obituaries
Barbara J. Parrett

11-22-2017Obituaries
Charles P. Sindberg

11-22-2017Obituaries
Kathleen E. Selby

11-22-2017Obituaries
William R. VandenBloomer

11-22-2017Obituaries
James Wirtz

11-22-2017Obituaries
Linda Woulf

11-22-2017Sports
Bucs Dominate Roadrunners With Strong Second Half

11-22-2017Sports
Majewski's Career High Pushes Lakeland Past IIT

11-22-2017Sports
DNR Assessed Lakes and Rivers Remain Healthy

11-22-2017Sports
Cavaliers Thankful to Enter Win Column

11-22-2017Perspectives
Country Cousin

11-22-2017Perspectives
From Our Readers

11-22-2017Perspectives
From My Window

11-22-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Nov. 27th

11-22-2017Community - Wausaukee
Town Wausaukee Sets $449,623 Tax Levy

11-22-2017Community - Wausaukee
Labor of Love Family Collection

11-22-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Hosts Turkey Trot Nov. 23

11-22-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School Board Passes Budget Revisions

11-22-2017Community - Crivitz
Loomis Historical Christmas Dinner

11-22-2017Community - Crivitz
Christmas Tea at Crivitz Dec. 9th

11-22-2017Community - Crivitz
Christmas in Bethlehem at Crivitz Church Nov. 25

11-22-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman FFA Off To a Fast Start

11-22-2017Community - Coleman
Town of Pound Considers Possible Cheese Factory

11-22-2017Community - Coleman
Gift Baskets Topic at Library Dec. 6

11-22-2017Community - Coleman
12th Annual Christmas Bazaar, Craft, Vendor Sale

11-22-2017Front Page
County, Town, State Working To Improve Internet Service

11-22-2017Front Page
Wausaukee Faces Problems With False WWTP Testing Reports

11-22-2017Front Page
Former Hammes Garage Site Is Now A Vacant Lot

11-22-2017Front Page
Nogalski Reports On State Of Cemetery

11-22-2017Front Page
Peshtigo Tree Lighting Ceremony at Triangle Park

11-15-2017Sports
2017 Nine-day Gun Deer Season Opens Saturday, Nov. 18

11-15-2017Sports
WIAA State Football This Week in Madison

11-15-2017Obituaries
Eugene C. Sobeck

11-15-2017Obituaries
Dorothy M. Perkins

11-15-2017Obituaries
Ronald J. Lindgren

11-15-2017Obituaries
Sharon E. Heitkemper

11-15-2017Obituaries
George G. Garbell

11-15-2017Sports
Menominee's Playoff Run Ends

11-15-2017Obituaries
Jody L. DeHut 

11-15-2017Obituaries
Daniel W. Cloutier

11-15-2017Sports
Bulldogs Beat Foxes

11-15-2017Obituaries
Donald L. Champagne

11-15-2017Obituaries
James L. Bogusz

11-15-2017Obituaries
Ursula Whiting

11-15-2017Obituaries
Phyllis Turner


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Should President Trump cut back on the amount of tweets he makes?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2017
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites