After Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan announced a proposed budget that reduces the county’s property tax levy by 2.3 percent, County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler responded that a plan he proposed first goes much further with a 10 percent cut.
Dunstan’s proposed budget is reduced by more than $1 million from the current fiscal year due to budget surpluses that Prenzler said that he pointed out.
“My plan puts more money back into the pockets of taxpayers – where it belongs," Prenzler said. "The county shouldn’t tax for what it doesn’t need."
According to Prenzler, there is plenty of room in the budget for further property tax cuts.
"Due to the pressure, the chairman cut the levy by 2.3 percent, which I feel is not enough,” he said.
“We need to stop padding the budget and building up reserves. This cut would not impact jobs or public safety, as the chairman would lead you to believe. The focus is on reducing the county’s surplus,” said Prenzler.
Dunstan, a Democrat, has served as Chairman since 2002.
Prenzler, a Republican, has served as county Treasurer since 2010. He was re-elected for the first time last year.
According to Prenzler, the county’s reserve account is already full, and the surpluses are being transferred into a secondary savings account.
“There is a huge reserve, and the county doesn’t need it,” he said. “The county should not be in the business of hoarding money.”
Dunstan’s proposed budget of $129,032,013 is reduced from the current budget of $130,317,062, and will be presented on Nov. 18 to the County Board.
His proposal includes a capital project budget of $6 million for the 2016 fiscal year funded by past budget savings, including upgrades to the courthouse, detention home, annex facilities, and the Madison County Jail.
Dunstan said that because property taxes are one of the biggest concerns for taxpayers, the County Board has been working for the past four years to decrease them.
“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 in a press release. “Furthermore, we have been able to do this and still preserve vital county services, including public safety programs.”