KENOSHA, WI (WLIP)–Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman presented her 2023 budget proposal to the Kenosha County Board last night.
In her budget address she emphasized the importance of partnerships and fiscal responsibility.
Kerkman’s proposed budget would reduce county taxes for the median-value home of $271,000 by $15.51 as compared with last year.
The total budget will drop by more than 9%.
The county board’s various committees will consider the proposal throughout October and a public hearing is set for November 1st.
A vote on final approval is set for November 2nd.
Watch the full budget address:
From the official county press release:
County Executive Kerkman noted that Kenosha County remains a magnet for economic development in the region and the nation.
Among the recent groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings that have been celebrated, she noted the expansion of Vonco Products — the first tenant in the Salem Business Park, now growing the operation that it moved here from Illinois in 2016 — and the state-of-the-art Kroger fulfillment center in Pleasant Prairie.
“And, of course, there’s Haribo — the sweet addition to our corporate landscape that’s been in the works for several years and is almost done with construction,” Kerkman said, of the German candymaker’s manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie.
“That’s an example of Kenosha County as a worldwide player for economic development.”
In other partnerships, Kerkman noted:
-The continuation of the Council of Governments, an information-sharing gathering of local government leaders held twice annually, most recently on Sept. 17 at the Vonco headquarters.
-Kerkman’s recent work with the Sheriff’s Department and the County Board to appoint Sgt. Christopher Hannah as the county’s new director of emergency management.
-A commitment with the City of Kenosha for the county to contribute $350,000 to an effort to redevelop a portion of the Uptown area that was destroyed during the August 2020 riots.
An innovative, public-private partnership in which the county is developing a new Human Services facility to replace the outdated Job Center building at 8600 Sheridan Road.
The new facility will be located in the Sun Plaza shopping center at 52nd Street and 35th Avenue, in the center of the communities most served.
As for the latter project, Kerkman thanked the County Board for recently approving the acceptance of a nearly $10 million grant from the state.
“With that, the project is on track for construction to begin in 2023, with the goal of opening in spring 2024,” Kerkman said.
In her budget address, Kerkman announced a new initiative that went live on Tuesday, honoring and celebrating veterans.
The Kenosha County Veterans Honor Portal is an online, one-stop shop for veteran-related information, Kerkman said. It includes the Veterans Tribute Trail — a map-based application that takes users on a self-guided tour of veteran landmarks throughout the county — and an Honor Registry that allows veterans and their families to contribute to a living history of veterans in Kenosha County.
Users may access the portal from any device at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/VeteransPortal.
Additional features will be added to the portal in the coming months, Kerkman said. Kerkman also announced the naming of the two roads that run through the Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park.
“One thing we’ve found with the park as it’s taken shape is that visitors don’t always know how to get to their destination,” Kerkman said. “There’s the original park entrance off Highway KD, and there’s the new entrance off Highway F that leads to the Veterans Honor Plaza.”
Kerkman’s budget includes the designation of the Highway KD entrance and road as the “Porter Parkway,” in honor of former state Rep. Cloyd Porter, who worked to secure state funding for the county’s initial purchase of the parkland in the late 1990s.
The Highway F entrance and road is to be named “Karow Court” in commemoration of the Karow family, owners of Powers Lake Construction, which was located on what is now that portion of the park.
“It’s an honor to pay tribute to these great names, while also giving the public an easy way to navigate to park events and features,” Kerkman said.
Other budget highlights include:
-A commitment to public safety, including the addition of one detective and one data analyst position in the Sheriff’s Department, and the use of American Rescue Plan Act
funding for support staff for the District Attorney’s Office to address a backlog of criminal cases.
-Funding for a study of Emergency Operations.
-Reclassifications of some county positions with staffing difficulties, including nursing assistants, environmental services workers, admission-and-release specialists, and social workers.
-Road projects aimed at enhancing safety, including the 2023 construction of a roundabout at highways A and Y in Somers and the reconstruction of Highway EM in Twin Lakes.
-Continuance of the county’s highway maintenance program, including 15 miles of repaving in 2023.
-A commitment to addressing the ecological issues that cause chronic flooding along the South Branch of the Pike River in the City of Kenosha’s west side and in Somers.
-A continued effort to raise private funds to support the restoration of the county’s historic Ceremonial Courtroom — a project that recently received a $100,000 donation from the law firm of Habush Habush & Rottier.