By Heather Graves

BROWN COUNTY – County executive Troy Streckenbach presented the 2022 budget proposal on Friday, October 1, with a focus on the tax rate.

“I am delighted that Brown County taxpayers are seeing the real savings in this budget,” Streckenbach said. “At the start, I ran on certain principles and those principles are still strong.”

He presented his 2022 budget proposal to department heads and county supervisors at the Brown County STEM Innovation Center on the UW-Green Bay campus.

The proposed budget of $ 366.5 million represents an increase of $ 5.69 million, or 1.5%, from last year’s figure of $ 360.8 million.

The 2022 drawdown is expected to increase by about $ 1.05 million, or 1.14%, to $ 92.39 million, from the approved drawdown of $ 91.33 million last year.

Although property owners on the whole would pay more taxes for county purposes, allowing for an increase in property values ​​across the county, the proposal calls for a tax rate cut of 26 cents per $ 1,000 – from $ 3.98 to $ 3.72, which Streckenbach says is the lowest since 1984, when it was $ 3.24.

This rate does not include taxes charged by schools or municipalities.

Figures from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue show that the county’s equalized total value increased in 2021 by more than $ 2.071 billion, or 8.4%, to about $ 26.7 billion.

The budget proposal includes a decrease in the county’s debt by $ 10 million, which Streckenbach says further reduces the county’s historically low debt level to $ 58 million.

He attributes the continued decrease to the debt reduction, infrastructure and property tax relief plan he proposed and which the county council approved in 2017.

By the end of 2022, Streckenbach said the county will have paid off more than $ 90 million in debt since taking office.

“On a very high level, at least from my office, it’s ‘Hey, the plan is working’,” Streckenbach said.

He said the plan continues to move the county in the right direction.

Since the plan’s inception in 2018, Streckenbach has said the county’s tax rate has dropped 84 cents to $ 1,000.

“The strategy is working as expected,” he said. “The investment in the community is happening. We are improving our infrastructure, our quality of life, investing in important community initiatives, while reducing our debt to record levels, lowering our tax rate to record levels and providing the tax relief the plan demanded. at the end of the day. It’s just another successful budget process.

As in previous years, Streckenbach proposed improvements to county roads, bridges and facilities – with $ 10.2 million earmarked in the proposed budget for roads and infrastructure.

He said the county also saw its net new construction rise 1.9% and the equalized total value rise to more than $ 26.7 billion – an increase of more than $ 8.4 billion since entry. according to Streckenbach in 2012.

“The net increase in new construction means the county was able to capture around $ 1.5 million in new off-take capacity, which was most offset by reductions in debt service payments, leaving us with around $ 1 million. .06 million dollars in new levy, ”Streckenbach said.

He said other budget highlights include:

• The addition of a Housing Navigator position, which Streckenbach described as a small step in solving a much larger problem.

“We know that as individuals in our community who are experiencing homelessness, or on the verge of homelessness, they often need more resources to give them stability,” he said. declared. “This type of support is not the (catch-all) solution to homelessness, but it is one of the many factors Brown County can plan for that has been identified as a tool or an investment. early stage that the community can do and help tackle homelessness in the county.

• Body cameras: Streckenbach said that by leveraging a contribution from the Green Bay Packers, the sheriff’s office will be able to have new body-worn cameras, team cameras, room cameras, and more. maintenance and Tasers.

• Year of Friends: The county’s goal is to enlist 100 mentors by the end of the year to address shortages in this program.

• Emergency Food Response Plan: Extension Brown County will set aside $ 5,000 in its budget to team up with various community partners to put in place an emergency food response plan.

“We figured out, at the local level, how to balance our budget, work within our means and continue to make the appropriate investments to have a good community that attracts businesses and families to want to live here,” Strekenbach said.

However, he said it’s a team effort.

“It doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” he said. “This is happening because we have a supervisory board that, for the most part, agrees. The board agrees with what we are doing. This clearly shows that we can work together and that we are getting things done. “

He said he hopes the budget will be well received by supervisors.

Streckenbach’s budget proposal will be discussed at committee meetings throughout October.

The County Council will hold its annual budget meeting at 9:30 a.m. on October 27 at Expo Resch.

Residents interested in participating must do so in person. The meeting was not broadcast live.

Streckenbach’s full budget proposal can be viewed online.