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$6 Million deficit in Manitowoc; How are leaders planning to fill the gap?

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jun 03, 2024

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — Manitowoc County is in need of some money.

  • The County is facing a $6 million deficit according to County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer.
  • Ziegelbauer has came up with two solutions regarding raising the county's property and/or sales taxes.
  • The financial committee will present the board with a formal plan next. Monday

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Manitowoc County leaders are considering options that would impact our neighbors in town.

The county has a $6 million dollar deficit and Manitowoc County board member Ryan Phipps says they need to take care of it.

"It appears that there's some oversight,” said Phipps. "I think it's just a combination of several of the last years coming to head. I think the lockdowns and mandates had a negative effect."

At the last committee of the whole meeting, County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer says the deficit comes from the human services department.

He brought two solutions to the table:

  • A raise to the property tax levy in 2025 by 30% and another 3% in 2026
  • A raise to the property tax levy by 3% in 2025 and 2026, as well as a half percent increase on the county's sales tax.

Both options would leave the county with a $2.4 million surplus by the end of 2026

"As a county board, I think that's where most of the board members are leaning,” says Phipps. “Towards the sales tax."

But Phipps would like to see the tax held off until the county better determines how it's going to budget.

"I don't think it's fair for our county to endure all of the expenses without us as a body looking internally first,” he said.

Phipps says the financial committee will present the board with a plan next Monday that revolves around one of executive Ziegelbauer's options.

"Obviously there was a mistake made,” said Phipps. “We have a deficit so we're going to have challenges no matter what the county board decides."

I've been speaking with some local taxpayers who tell me they're aware of the problem, but not yet sure how they want the county to handle it.

County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer declined an interview until after next Monday’s meeting.