The Vilas County Board of Supervisors Tuesday night approved a budget for 2014 that calls for a small increase in the property tax rate. Vilas county has one of the lowest property tax rates in the state. The increase will amount to $8 per $100,000 of valuation. The budget is a compromise….in order to maintain a county services, provide for a number of important projects, and maintain a healthy fund balance.
At Tuesday’s monthly meeting, the Vilas County Board of Supervisors went through a second round of voicing their ideas for how to balance the 2014 budget. Finance director Jason Hilger says the county is facing a deficit of roughly $1.2 million for the upcoming year. Nonetheless, Hilger says Vilas county is in good shape, with a reserve fund of more than $7 million.
There were a couple of "firsts" at the Vilas County board of supervisors meeting Tuesday night. For the first time, their regular board meeting was held at the Arbor Vitae town hall. And for the first time, they participated in a special information gathering session.
Nancy Anne Miller, head of UW-extension in Vilas county, facilitated the process, passing the microphone from one supervisor to the next to hear their feedback on goals for upcoming budgets.
After the meeting, Jason Hilger, Vilas county finance director, said it was a worthwhile exercise:
You might have noticed that your county board is going through major change.
The impetus for the change stems from implementation of Act 10, the controversial legislation enacted into law two years ago that bans most public employee unions in Wisconsin. The legality of the law will be decided by the state Supreme Court. In the meantime, counties are struggling to handle their vastly increased responsibilities.