2024 budget raises levy
By Robert Cloud
Waupaca County’s potion of the property tax levy will increase by less than 1% for next year.
Finance Director Heidi Dombrowski presented details of the 2024 budget to the Waupaca County Board at its Oct. 31 meeting.
The county’s tax levy will rise to $29.88 million for 2024, up by $261,000, or 0.88%, over 2023.
The tax rate will drop to $5.01 per $1,000 of equalized value for 2024.
In 2023, Waupaca County property owners paid a mill rate $5.76 per $1,000 of equalized value.
Dombrowski said the median home value in Waupaca County is $159.600, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“The tax bill for 2024 for that home would be $798.85,” Dombrowski said.
The tax bill on a home of the same value was $919.92 in 2023.
“That homeowner would pay approximately $121 less in 2024 than they did in 2023,” Dombrowski said.
A contributing factor to a homeowner’s tax bill is its market value compared to the previous year.
“Although Waupaca County experienced an increase of 16.77% in equalized value, the increase for net new construction remains low at 1% or $246,058,” Dombrowski noted in the county’s 460-page annual budget.
That means some property owners will see their tax bills increase even as their tax rates go down.
While local property taxes account for $29.88 million in the county’s 2024 revenues, intergovernmental revenues (primarily state aid) account for $19.74 million. That amount represents a drop more than $1 million from 2023.
The county also budgeted for a continued increase in sales tax revenues, which have grown from $3.29 million collected n 2015 to $5.1 million projected in 2024.
Dombrowski said, “Interest rates on investments decreased significantly in 2021.”
In 2022, the county experienced an unrealized loss of nearly $165,000. But revenues from interest is expected to rise to nearly $1.16 million in 2023. The county anticipates investment income of $1.16 in 2024.
The Highway Operations Fund has total operating expenditures of $18.72 million.
The county charges state and municipal governments for services such as snow plowing on town roads and state highways. This accounts for a total of $15.34 million in revenues.
Property tax levy of $1.8 million is applied to the debt service and interest payments on the highway facility.
According to the 2024 budget, Waupaca County’s total revenues will be $95.8 million and its total expenditures will be $99.12 million.
The 2024 county budget will use an estimated $3.32 million from various fund balances. Last year, the county used $1.93 million from fund balances. Some of these funds include money from the opioid settlement and the American Rescue Plan Act.
Transportation Services, Health and Human Services and Economic Development have their own funds.
“All fund balances applied or restored are for the purpose in which they are restricted, committed or assigned,” according to Dombrowski’s message to the county board.
Operating expenditures in 2024 include $8.62 million for general government, $15.1 million for public safety, $24 million for public works, nearly $18 million for health and human services, $2.22 million for culture, recreation and education, $2.98 million for conservation and development, $3.82 million for debt service, $13.18 million for capital outlay and $11.37 for other financing uses.
Waupaca County currently has $19.37 million in outstanding debt and will levy $3.82 million for debt service.
The tax rate for debt service is 64 cents per $1,000 of equalized value.