Chris Rasmussen is a friend and is working hard to try to hold the spending line in Kewaunee County. He has asked for my assistance in distributing the letter that appears below. Mr. Luft, Chairman of the Finance Committee is hell-bent on increasing taxes and fees.
You must get involved now, or it may be too late. Attend the Aug 9th meeting to get the details and let your elected Supervisor know of your position on these taxes and fees.
Dear Kewaunee County Taxpayers:
My name is Chris Rasmussen and I’m a first year Kewaunee County
Board Supervisor from the 5th district, and I need your help!
Tuesday, Aug 9rd, 6:30 PM at NorthBrook Country Club
, I am
hosting a meeting get your feedback on a variety of new taxes and fees
currently being considered by the Finance Committee and ultimately Kewaunee
I serve on the Finance Committee and have learned over the
last few months that Kewaunee County is facing significant budget deficits this
year and the foreseeable future. Finance
Committee Chairman Lee Luft and the other Finance Committee would like to
address this issue by creating new taxes and fees. In fact, they voted 4-1 last night to
recommend a county-wide sales tax to the full board – specifically denying input from the public by intentionally refusing
a referendum. Furthermore, they
have not formally proposed even one spending reduction on almost $29M of
spending before passing this tax out of committee!
disagree with this approach
, but my appeals have fallen on deaf ears. A sales tax should be the very last resort –
but they’re not even giving spending reductions a chance. Without your help, they will pass their new
sales tax without going to referendum, and along with it a whole host of new
fees! I NEED YOUR HELP AND VOICE!!
The financial issues facing the county are relatively
complex and span multiple decades and countless poor decisions by our elected
officials. Prior to the May County Board
meeting, the County Administrator at the direction of Mr. Luft presented a five
year Kewaunee County Financial Forecast showing a 2017 budget deficit of $1.0M,
growing each year of the forecast culminating in 2021 with a $3.5M budget
During that five-year span, they forecast spending to increase on average by almost $800K
annually. $800K per year!
While over the same span, property tax
and other income is only forecasted to only grow by $210K per year. Left
untouched, the average spending growth outpaces income growth by almost $600K
per year! THIS IS NOT A REVENUE PROBLEM
– IT IS A SPENDING PROBLEM!
Their original forecast included 15% year over year health
insurance increases, a clear overstatement of expenses in order to “sell” their
wish-list of taxes and fees. After
facing continuous scrutiny by me in that and follow up meetings, Mr. Luft and
Mr. Feldt revised their forecasts, backing off of the 15% to 10% and eventually
5% year to year health insurance increases.
Although slightly more palatable, these versions still forecast average
annual spending increases to outpace income growth in the county by $400K and
$250K, respectively. There is no tax and/or fee that will
continue to grow by $600K, $400K, or $250K annually.
NEW TAXES AND FEES
Mr. Luft & the County Administrator’s forecast included the
following wish-list of new taxes and fees along with the extra spending money they
predict each would generate:
to Increase Property Taxes beyond Legal Limit
- $360,000 ($20 per vehicle under 8,000 pounds)
½ % County-Wide
- $1,300,000 (county-wide sales tax)
- $350,000, comprised of some combination of the following:
Overweight Vehicle Fee - no dollar amount
ATV Park Fee - no dollar amount assigned
Animal Waste Storage Unit Inspection Fee
(annual) - $360,700
Agricultural Land Inspection Fee (annual) -
Private Well Registration & Inspection Fee
(annual) - $40,000
Manure Spill Response Fee - no dollar amount
Increase Fine related to Winter Spreading
Ordinance from $250 to $2500 - no total dollar amount assigned
Their own projections
show the result is a 3-year Band-Aid that would leave us further in the hole! Not including the Property Tax increase
because they know it would face certain defeat at the polls, but, if they were
to impose their new wheel tax of $360K, half percent sales tax of $1.3M, and
increased/new fees of $350K, they still generate huge budget shortfalls again
by 2020 ($600K), and 2021 ($1.4M).
That’s right – according to their forecast they would raise
taxes and fees by $2,010,000
and still be in the hole by 2020. THIS IS NOT A REVENUE PROBLEM – IT IS A
When I asked the County Administrator if he thought this was
a Band-Aid, he told me that it would buy some time and that our “wake up call”
would be in three years. I suggest to you that the wakeup call has been
ringing for some time now and we’ve been hitting the snooze button for far too
Those on the Finance Committee keep saying the answer has to
come from both sides – some spending reductions and some “revenue
enhancements.” And although this sounds
great, but the fact of the matter is that they have not considered a single
spending reduction. I have brought forth
a dozen ideas or more of areas to reduce, but they are unwilling to
listen. Their forecast is a reflection
of what they will do with more tax revenues – not one area is reduced. Not a single one.
I NEED YOUR HELP
AND VOICE! – On Tuesday,
Aug 9rd, 6:30 PM at NorthBrook Country Club!
hope to see you there.
County Board Supervisor, District 5, Kewaunee, WI