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Manitowoc County considers deficit solutions; Monday's financial meeting may tell us more

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jul 08, 2024

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — Manitowoc County continues to weigh proposals to solve its major budget deficit.

  • County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer says the $5.1 million deficit is the result of a higher human services budget.
  • Ziegelbauer says either the county's property tax or sales tax will be raised.
  • The county's financial committee will meet on Monday to discuss the options.

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

County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer says the deficit is now estimated to be around $5.1 million due to an increase in human services spending.

"The growing expenses,” Ziegelbauer said. “We didn't segregate any extra money for the human services department.”

He says the decision now lies with the county board and financial committee. The committee could approve a proposal at any time.

For now, either a half percent sales tax increase or a 12.5 percent increase on the county's share of the property tax (approximately $50 for a $100,000 property).

"We always feel pressure because we are serving the public and we will do the best we can," said Ziegelbauer.

The county board would have the final vote and while options are on the table, Ziegelbauer says the financial committee may still take more time before sending anything to the board.

Many of our neighbors in the county are following the process and frustrated at the financial hole.

"That's kind of irritating but I do understand that mistakes are made,” Ben Schamburek said.

Schamburek, a local horticulturist, is weighing in on which of the two current proposals he doesn't want.

"Rising taxes for our property and our houses and everything, seems unrealistic,” Schamburek says. “It's getting more difficult to live in this county, at least."

He prefers a county sales tax, saying that way the county could profit more off of tourism. Schamburek mentioned his gardening experiences at Mariner's Trail.

"There's a lot of people out of state that come specifically for that trail,” he said. “While they're here and spending money, maybe we can capitalize on that.”

Executive Ziegelbauer says both options would be implemented for 2025. He told me whichever path is taken, it will be in effect for the long-term.