09/13/2019- The first draft of Marinette County’s 2020 budget has been released. Thursday the county’s Administrative Committee took a look at the financials for the upcoming fiscal year as presented by County Administrator John Lefebvre. The $17-million budget shows a slight decrease in the operating and debt service levy rate total and an increase in equalized property value in the county of about $89-million. Projects found on next year’s capital improvements list include the construction of viewing platforms at some of the county’s waterfalls, the purchase of two new dump trucks for the Highway Department, as well as outfitting all the Sheriff’s Department vehicles with in-squad video systems. But, Lefebvre says, one request that didn’t make the cut was the acquisition of an armored tactical vehicle.
“The reason that I removed the Bearcat is not that I’m not in support of it. The reason that I removed it is because of the conversations at the city-level. Is the City (of Marinette) going to ultimately apply for a grant and purchase the Bearcat? What’s the City’s intent and how can we join forces with them to try to make this a combined venture?”
The county library system’s operating budget became the subject of some scrutiny at Thursday’s meeting. County Board Chairman Mark Anderson says, at about one-point-one-million dollars, the library may be overfunded, and he feels that money would be better spent on other methods of information delivery like the expansion of broadband access.
“I’m supportive of libraries, don’t get me wrong, but I’m wondering why we are funding our library to the tune of four times what Menominee County’s funding theirs. We want to talk about an information age and we want people to have access to information and access to what libraries were all about- internet and broadband is the key…I would like to see us have a real heavy discussion in regards to reducing that library fund and putting it in a broadband fund.”
The Administrative Committee approved the 2020 Budget as proposed and forwarded it on to the full County Board for review and consideration at their meeting next week.