County, City Approve 2021 Budgets

Door County Passes 1.21 Percent Levy Increase

The Door County Board of Supervisors approved its 2021 budget and tax levy Nov. 10 following a public hearing during which no public comments were offered. 

Total expenses are projected at $89,943,239, with revenue at $59,250,650. Property-tax payers make up the difference with a levy of $30,692,589, which is $366,169 more than this year’s, or 1.21 percent higher. The tax rate for 2021 is $3.978 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. This represents a decrease of approximately 10 cents compared to the 2020 rate.

The state caps the amount that counties may increase taxes each year. Spending levels may remain the same as the previous year, plus net new construction, minus any demolition or destruction of buildings. This levy-limit percentage is calculated by dividing the current year of new construction by the county’s prior-year equalized value. 

This formula caps Door County’s 2021 levy at $24,924,029. Exclusions to this levy limit are costs for ambulance services, bridge aid and debt service. Adding those in brings the total levy to $30,692,589.

County Administrator Ken Pabich asked department heads to list their accomplishments to add an element of positivity to the budget this year, and he detailed those achievements in a summary for supervisors that he shared Tuesday.

“It’s a true testament of what we’ve gone through,” Pabich said, “but also a true testament of all the things we’ve accomplished despite COVID.” 

City of Sturgeon Bay Passes 0.14 Percent Levy Increase

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved its 2021 budget and tax levy Nov. 3 following a public hearing during which no public comments were offered.

The city’s total expenses for all funds are projected at $42,376,317 for 2021. Of that, the city’s largest fund – the general fund that pays for operations and many of the basic municipal services – is $12,421,245. The budget is expected to allow the city to retain a fund balance, or rainy day fund, of roughly $4.9 million.

The property tax will fund $7,059,258 of city expenses in 2021, a 0.14 percent increase over this year’s tax levy. That levy amount was whittled down from the roughly 6.5 percent increase that the council began with when it held its first budget workshop in early October.

City Administrator Josh VanLieshout said the budget approval was the culmination of eight months of work by city staff members. 

One new item added into the budget for 2021 was $10,000 in seed money to begin a fund to finance public art. 

“That isn’t going to buy us a lot,” Mayor David Ward said, “but I think we need to start doing that.”

The spending decisions for local art would rest first with Sturgeon Bay’s newly developed Local Arts Board, which convened for the first time early last month. Alderwoman Helen Bacon chairs the board, which comprises Laurel Hauser, Stephanie Trenchard, Claire Morkin and Margaret Lockwood.

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