County executive proposing 0% tax levy increase

County Executive Jim Kreuser is calling for a 0 percent increase in the county’s tax levy this coming year.

Kreuser revealed his plans for the budget in his annual budget address delivered to the County Board Tuesday evening.

From the prepared text for the speech:

Last year, at 1.88%, our tax increase was the lowest in the past 25 years. Through the many changes that were made to strengthen the finance department, overhaul and ramp up our information technology department and through various reorganizations, benefit adjustments and staff reductions, we gained efficiencies in many areas. That is why I stand before you tonight with a zero increase in the 2013 budget for Kenosha County.

Key areas of Kreuser’s proposed budget are decreased borrowing and changes to health care for county employees including:  5 percent annual contribution of the budgeted rate, wellness incentive program, dental coverage offered at employee’s expense (currently provided), vision program offered at employees expense (not currently provided), eliminating the covered services of coverage for morbid obesity, private duty nursing, limited coverage for ambulance and time in a skilled nursing facility.

Western Kenosha County specific highlights from the speech include:

  • Dog parks:  “Through the generous donations from Dr. William Harris, Dr. William Carlisle and Mary Ellen Close, as well as from those who purchase annual dog park tags, two of the three county dog parks have lights so dogs can play in the evening and their humans can safely watch them.” (Two of the three county dog parks are in Western Kenosha County.)
  • Collaborations: “We have had many more successful collaborations, like working with the Village of Paddock Lake for the 2nd Annual Okotoberfest …”
  • Trail: “The Silver Lake Icehouse Trail will be completed by mid-November, allowing people to walk or bike ride around Silver Lake. It is a great addition to the Village of Silver Lake and I appreciate working with them on this project.”
  • High Speed broadband: “Work progresses to install high speed broadband across Kenosha County for public safety, commercial and private customers. We are the first county in the State to provide county-wide broadband focusing on areas that are unserved or underserved. As of the end of September, over 12 commercial customers have been installed through HierComm and are operational in the Bristol/Paris areas. Marketing campaigns are now targeting the Brighton and Wheatland areas with the remaining areas to be covered by the end of the year. Broadband continues to be deemed as critical infrastructure necessary to support economic growth and educational advancement.”

The whole budget address can be read here.


One Comment

  1. resident says:

    It’s easy for Kreuser to say that “he” cut the budget; however, he did no such thing. The employees are paying more for retirement; and more for insurance. So, it’s the EMPLOYEES that “cut” the increase. Mr. Kreuser didn’t back down on ANY of his spending. His “benefit adjustments” were felt by only the union employees. His staff didn’t take a cut in wages or benefits. He’s got an administrative assistant (secretary) making in excess of $70,000.00 – in what world does THAT happen? He earmarked thousands of dollars last year in a dimishing golf course (Brightondale), and it’s still losing money. Dog parks? This is the county – most people have yards for their dogs to play in. Paving a walking trail through a county park? That flies in the face of “county park” in all aspects of the phrase.
    I really think people should think about this – last year we saw a small increase in taxes, NOT because of lack of spending, but because of employees sharing costs; this year he says we will see no increase, NOT because of lack of spending, but again, because of employees sharing costs. When he has no more to cut from employees, will he actually stop his frivolous spending? I think not – within a year or two, the county taxes will jump at a greater rate than we’ve seen because there will be no more to take from employees and he will never stop his spending. Think about it, especially when his term is up.

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