County tax rate to go down

Slight increase in levy
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Shawano County property owners will see a decrease in their tax rates for 2018 despite a slight increase in the tax levy thanks in large part to a rise in the county’s equalized value.

The Shawano County Board approved the levy Wednesday in support of the county’s 2018 budget by a vote of 25-0, with two supervisors absent.

The levy will go up by just under 1 percent, from $15.54 million to $15.68 million.

State law limits levy increases to the amount of net new construction. Shawano County saw an increase in new construction of 0.9 percent, or just short of $140,000.

That levy will translate to a tax rate of $5.19 per $1,000 of equalized value, compared to $5.29 per $1,000 for 2017, a drop of 2 percent.

That amount will vary by municipality, however, as cities, towns and villages use assessed rather than equalized value.

County operating costs will go up by about 4 percent, from $50 million to $52 million. Increased expenditures include a 2.8 percent increase in health insurance costs and a 2 percent increase in employee wages.

The levy also includes the new consolidated library system, which goes into effect in January. The libraries were previously not part of the levy.

The county is also adding a drug court coordinator for its new drug court that also goes into effect in January, but Administrative Coordinator Brent Miller said the new position will not have a significant impact on the budget because it simply reassigns an existing position in the courts’ office.

Some of the county levy increase is being offset by a decrease in debt service of nearly $116,000 to $621,000 thanks to one of the county’s debts being fully paid off.

The drop in the tax rate of 10 cents per $1,000 is largely due to the increase in the county’s equalized value, which rose nearly 3 percent from $2.9 billion to $3 billion.

Miller said the county also reallocated some resources, made some expenditure reductions and made use of departmental carryover funds to keep the tax levy increase within state guidelines.

“It was through the hard work of the home committees, county supervisors and department heads,” Miller aid.