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County looks at 3.13% levy increase

In a way, preparation of Pierce County's 2010 budget was simpler than some years.

With a state-mandated levy limit, union raises already set, higher health insurance costs and an increase in the county's contribution to employee retirement accounts, there was little left to divvy up.

"How many nickels and dimes can you really argue about?" summarized County Board Chairman Paul Barkla Thursday. He said department heads and the county board members who serve on their parent committees got the message times are tough and presented budgets accordingly.

The county board is expected to adopt the 2010 budget during its meeting next Tuesday.

The county property tax levy for operations will rise from $13.67 million to $14.1 million, an increase of 3.127 percent.

Because of negotiated contracts, the cost of employee wages will be about 2.75 percent more next year than this year, said Finance Director Julie Brickner. Health insurance costs will increase 12 percent or about $640,000. Following declines in investment returns, the Wisconsin Retirement System increased the contribution the county must make for each employee by one percent, an added cost of about $125,000 a year.

For more please read the Nov. 4 print version of the Herald.