By DAVE RANK
Agreeing to Washington County Manager Joshua Schoemann’s revised budgeting process, two committees of the County Board settled on a recommended Capital Improvement Program requesting $2.68 million in local sales tax money for capital projects next year.
The Executive and Finance committees liked Schoemann’s proposal to separate the economic development contributions from the Capital Improvement Program, which was created to plan for facility repairs and construction projects.
“I’ve been saying for years our capital improvement plan has become too many things,” Finance Committee member Daniel Stoffel said.
Stoffel is a county supervisor from the town of Kewaskum, and a former member of the Executive Committee, which oversees the CIP.
Under Schoemann’s budgeting plan, the use of county sales tax each year will be broken down into three categories: Property tax levy reduction, CIP and economic development.
For 2015, sales tax money allotted to each line item:
■ Levy reduction, $5.42 million (59 percent);
■ CIP, $2.68 million (29 percent);
■ Economic Development, $1.1 million (12 percent).
Previously, the county had allocated 60 percent of budgeted sales tax revenue for tax levy reduction and 40 percent for the CIP, which included economic development contributions.
Additional sales tax money unused in past years also will be allocated to the CIP projects.
Schoemann said the new allocation system will provide a more transparent report on spending to the board and the public.
The CIP now will go to the full County Board for final approval.
$1 million sought for Impact Fund
Washington County is preparing to inject another $1 million to its Impact Revolving Loan Fund this year to deal with an influx of potential business development projects being negotiated by the Economic Development Washington County.
The Executive Committee agreed Monday to recommend moving $1 million from the county’s sales tax reserve to the Impact Fund, which is administered by the EDWC.
Details behind the request for additional funding were discussed in closed session with only the recommendation vote conducted in public session.
The resolution now goes to the board’s Finance Committee for consideration and must go to the full County Board in September, County Board Chairman Herb Tennies said.
The EDWC is an independent economic development organization created by the county that works on business and industrial growth in Washington County.
“This would be an additional 2014 allocation. Currently, we have $1 million in the Impact Fund,” EDWC Executive Director Christian Tscheschlok said. “There are several projects in the closing phase.”
The board may be ready to announce up to three of those projects by the end of August, he said.
Those project negotiations, if they are successfully concluded, will require nearly all $1 million now in the Impact Fund, Tscheschlok said, and that could hinder efforts to push through additional projects also being negotiated by the EDWC.
Tscheschlok said it is EDWC policy not to discuss specific projects until agreements are worked out. But, he said, “We currently have 44 projects in our pipeline already. Last year we had 56 total.”