Highland News Leader

Madison County Board to consider $129 million budget

The Madison County County Board will consider a 2016 budget at its Nov. 18 meeting that has been reduced by more than $1 million from the current fiscal year.

The proposed 2016 Madison County Budget of $129,032,013 is decreased from the current budget of $130,317,062, which will also mean a drop in property taxes.

According to Chairman Alan Dunstan, D-Troy, the proposed property tax levy for 2016 will be 2.3 percent lower than the current year.

“This will result in a cut in taxes for property owners in Madison County for the county portion of the property tax bill,” Dunstan said. “Furthermore, we have been able to do this and still preserve vital county services, including public safety programs.”

The county’s budget plan for next year also includes $6 million in capital projects, including for major upgrades to the heating, cooling and ventilation systems in the courthouse, detention home, annex facilities, and money for the correction of deficiencies at the Madison County Jail.

Dunstan said property taxes are one of the biggest concerns for taxpayers, and the County Board has worked to hold the line on that front.

“Madison County will actually levy less property tax in 2016 than it did four years ago,” Dunstan said. “It has been the priority of mine and the board to reduce our reliance on property taxes. I am proud to say we have demonstrated our ability to do this while still maintaining core county services and preserving the board’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.”

However, Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, a Republican who is running against Dunstan for chairman, is pushing for an even bigger reduction in the property tax levy.

“People don’t mind paying their fair share, but taxing people for budget surpluses isn’t right. We can reduce the levy 10 percent and not impact jobs or services,” Prenzler said.