OC Budget: Lots Of Debate, Cuts Mostly Restored

Nov 12, 2013

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As money gets tighter at the local level, governments are wrestling with balancing their budgets. The Oneida County Board passed a 2014 budget that saw an unexpected windfall give some space to reduce budget cuts.

$80,000 was returned to the county from the ambulance fund after a deal was struck with Lac du Flambeau. After long debate, the board again funded a police dispatch in Minocqua, Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, they returned a portion of cuts made to the Sheriff's Department, money for tourism promotion and other items that had been targeted for cuts.

The board took $23,000 dollars that had been in the county coffers since the 1990's given by mining companies to help fund a point-to-point wireless broadband. Don Sidlowski from Three Lakes said the money wouldn't increase the tax levy, and could help attract private investment..

"....private resources willing to invest up to $50,000 to which will be added matching broadband funding(from the state) resulting in the county's matching money becoming a pool of nearly $100,000..."

Shellie Holmes from Tri-County Council said the $15,000 from the county is very real for them...

"....have you ever been called to the emergency room for someone who just had a gun put to her head?...we have...there are few things as traumatic as that...have you ever had someone walk into your home with black eyes, missing teeth or broken ribs, terrified, because the person who was supposed to love them has beaten them beyond recognition?..."

Supervisor Billy Fried from Minocqua said closing Minocqua police dispatch long-term would cost more if dispatch and possibly police service was gone...

"....and to restore this is telling Minocqua, Woodruff, Hazelhurst is acknowledging we're funding a complimentary service....when they get a call in Lake Tomahawk, who is assisting them?...Woodruff and Minocqua..."

They also restored funding for county tourism and kept money to give an increase to people providing human services care.

County spending actually decreased by more than a million dollars to $50 million.

The final numbers show a $100,000 home will pay $231 in county tax up from $223 last year.