MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County Deputy Sheriff's Association has begun a radio advertising campaign, stressing deputies are like other citizens in coping with our economic downturn.
"We have mortgages and car repairs and doctor's bills, and we pay taxes, just like you," a deputy relates in the ad. "And just like you, we've sacrificed, like cuts in pay."
In June, county unions agreed to a 5% pay cut through the end of the year in exchange for an additional six days off through 2011.
County executive Kathleen Falk has asked deputies and other county employees to extend that 5% pay cut through 2010, or risk lay offs. Falk said if deputies reject the pay cut, 27 deputy positions would be cut.
A statement from the Dane County deputy sheriff's association warned of possibly slower response times and other public safety compromises if lay offs take place.
Falk disputed that. "We have over five hundred employees in the sheriff's department." Falk said she's overseen a doubling of spending on the sheriff's office in the past dozen years, and said deputy sheriffs need to join the more than two thousand other county employees in sacrificing, with county revenues significantly down.
Falk releases her proposed 2010 budget Thursday. County officials and representatives of DCDSA resume contract talks Friday.
"I am very hopeful the deputies will be part of sharing the pain."
Because of declining revenues, Falk said she will need to depart from her self-imposed formula on the property tax levy, that holds increases to no more than population increases plus inflation.
A DCDSA representative told the Wisconsin State Journal a property tax increase of as a high as 12% should be considered, rather than enforcing cuts and threatening public safety standards.
Falk said property taxes are a bigger burden on citizens during a recession, and pay cuts are necessary to restrict the extent of property tax growth.