Law Enforcement and infrastructure are the themes of the 2020 proposed budget that Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser presented to the County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 1.
Included in the proposed budget is the contract settlement with the Kenosha County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
The contract, along with the subsequent impact on command staff wages as a result, accounts for nearly 1% of the 2020 tax levy increase. The proposed contract settlement attempts to make up the wage disparity between Kenosha County’s deputies and other area law enforcement agencies, including City of Kenosha Police officers.
“The people with the shield put their very lives on the line to keep us safe,” Kreuser said. “I can tell you, through thorough analysis, their wages had fallen behind.”
Kreuser said it costs more than $80,000 to train a new deputy before he or she can go on patrol alone. Kenosha County has lost about three deputies in the past year.
The budget also includes a 2% across-the-board wage increase for Joint Services employees. The wage increase was approved unanimously by the Kenosha Joint Services Board, including representatives from the City of Kenosha, which shares in the costs of the service. Wages for Joint Services employees have also been falling behind, and 911 dispatchers have been difficult to attract and retain, Kreuser said.
Other law enforcement impacts on the budget include:
For infrastructure costs, the county’s work on expanding County Highway S is a major capital project, and the county will also continue to keep up-to-date on repaving and maintaining county roads. The budget also includes replacing aging highway department equipment.
Kreuser is also proposing officially naming what has been known as KD Park, located on County Highway KD, to honor all Kenosha County residents who have served in the military.
“The Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park will stand as a tribute for the service and sacrifices of those who are serving and those who have served,” Kreuser said. “It is important to memorialize the combat wars, actions and conflicts in a complementary way with the serene, natural sanctuary of the current KD Park. The sustainable nature of the park is in harmony with how our veterans have sustained our nation.”
Kreuser is recommending an ad hoc committee of 9-12 people, including local veterans, work in conjunction with the county Public Works Committee, to advance the Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park plan with a $150,000 budget.
Causing pressure on the 2020 budget were the following factors, which are costs that the county does not control:
For a median home, valued at $188,950, up from $179,196 last year, taxes for county services would increase by $8.68, under the proposed 2020 budget.
View 2020 Budget Address
View Budget Presentation at the Oct. 1, 2019, County Board Meeting
View 2020 Budget Presentation PowerPoint
View 2020 Proposed Budget