Door County Sales-Tax Revenue Exceeds Last Year

County starts 2021 budgeting process

Door County – Revenue to Door County government is weathering COVID-19 well so far this year, largely because sales-tax collections have been strong. 

That was one of the takeaways from the Door County 2021 budgeting process, which began with a preliminary review of the numbers during the Finance Committee meeting last week. 

As of last month, Department of Revenue (DOR) sales-tax distributions to Door County were up by 0.5 percent over last year, according to Ken Pabich, Door County administrator. The state, he said, initially projected that counties could expect an 8-12 percent decline in sales tax.

“We’re running almost equal to last year, but last year was a record year, so that was pretty amazing,” Pabich said.

Door County received $4,282,865 in sales-tax distributions for 2019. As of July 2020, a total of $1,943,853 in distributions had been received. The 2020 budget predicted total sales-tax revenue of $3.75 million.

Proposed total expenditures in the preliminary budget are $89,939,886, compared to 2020 expenditures of $81,134,072, a 10.29 percent increase. The proposed tax-levy increase would be 1.13 percent higher.

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 net new construction by the county’s prior-year equalized value. Net new construction in Door County in 2019 was $83.4 million, and its 2018 equalized value was $7.2 billion, according to DOR data.

Door County has lots of visitors, but not a lot of growth, so the levy limit is “really hurting us,” Pabich said.

The county’s Finance Committee reviewed the early phase of the budget last week and sent it to all departmental oversight committees for review and recommendations. Those departmental committees will then send their budgets back to the Finance Committee this month. Finance will send a recommended budget to the full Door County Board of Supervisors, which generally adopts a final budget in mid-November, Pabich said.