The La Crosse County Board of Supervisors passed the 2018 Budget just after 10 p.m. on Monday night.
According to County Board Chair Tara Johnson, committees have been going over the proposed budget for months.
"We work really hard to avoid surprises," Johnson said. "We work really hard to educate and inform County Board Supervisors so they're ready to take the vote. So, we've been having some really rich, good conversations in the past couple of months."
Johnson calls the $161 million budget 'solid' and 'good news' for taxpayers. The budget makes La Crosse County the sixth lowest county in taxes per person across the state.
Supervisors voted on a number of committee reports, resolutions, and ordinances leading up to the budget approval. One of the resolutions included raising the County Board Supervisors' and County Chair's pay by 1.5-percent. That raises matches the raise of county employees across the board. It translates into $6 per month raise for County Supervisors, going from $411 to $417. The resolution passed in a 18-10-1 vote. The pay raise will start for the next term on April 17, 2018.
The meeting on Monday night started with public hearing regarding the budget. There was standing room only for that hearing. Members of the public weighed in on everything from 4-H funding to the impact of the PRAT Tax on local businesses. Supervisors took the input into account as they debated the budget.
The budget passed with few alterations. Supervisors voted to include $500,000 from the general fund to go toward the homelessness initiative. That allocation will act as a placeholder, as members of the group will still need to go through the County Board before spending any of the funds. Some supervisors also motioned to break ties with the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce. After debate, it was decided to continue the partnership.