The proposed 2018 budget for Marathon County continues an array of public services while reducing the tax rate slightly, according to documents released Friday by County Administrator Brad Karger.

Though the tax rate is going down, property owners will pay an average of $7.65 more in taxes for the 2018 budget year because property values countywide have increased by about 3 percent. This is the fifth straight year property values in Marathon County have increased, according to Wisconsin Department of Revenue property valuation reports.

Key changes in the 2018 budget include:

  • More than $2 million to fund costs directly related to the drug epidemic and growing opioid crisis in the county. Those funds, taken from working capital, will be used to create a new deputy sheriff position specializing in mental health, addiction and homelessness; establish a drug court and create an information specialist position within the Marathon County District Attorney’s office.
  • Changes in personnel, with 9.66 new full time equivalent positions created, 4.5 of which are court security deputies.
  • About $4.4 million of bonding to fund capital improvement projects that will be paid off over time.
  • A savings of $249,773 in workers compensation costs, zero increase in health care, and about $800K in performance increases for the county’s workforce of 686.73 full time equivalent employees.

Members of the Marathon County Board of Supervisors will vote on the proposed budget during the group’s November meeting. A public budget hearing is set for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the assembly room at the Marathon County Courthouse.2018 Budget Book P01-42