Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waukesha County: "Weathering the storm better than most"

Waukesha County Board Districts

Link to September 29 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "Waukesha County budget avoids major cuts".

Excerpt: Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas announced his proposed 2010 budget Tuesday night - one that generally maintains services, anticipates about 2% pay increases for its 1,400 county employees, and fills substantial holes created by state budget cuts and lower income from economy-driven local sources such as real estate transaction fees and investment income.

Vrakas said the county - the only one in Wisconsin and one of 50 counties in the nation with a coveted AAA bond rating - entered the recession from "an extremely strong position" financially. In addition, he and his administration have crafted a budget that increases spending for operations and capital projects by 1.5%, to $260 million.

Among the spending decisions, the budget eliminates 15 jobs across many departments, for a $1 million saving. It leverages resources by merging some operations, like those for veterans, the aging and those with disabilities. It imposes two unpaid furlough days on most employees, saving about $425,000.

"I don't think people will see visible reductions in services," Vrakas said.

The proposed property tax levy, excluding the federated library tax paid by those communities without their own libraries, would increase 2.8%, to $95.7 million. The proposed tax rate would increase 8 cents, from $1.79 per $1,000 of equalized (fair market) value, to $1.87, or 4.5%.

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