Outagamie County approves $420 million 2023 budget, including 87% increase to Appleton airport's budget

Appleton International Airport is busy with flights on June 28, 2022, in Greenville, Wis.
Appleton International Airport is busy with flights on June 28, 2022, in Greenville, Wis.

The Outagamie County Board approved a $420.3 million budget for next year that includes an 87% increase in funding for the Appleton International Airport, largely to support an expansion of its terminal.

Appleton airport's 2023 budget is at $103 million, almost double its $55 million budget for this year.

The airport is a self-funded county department that uses federal and state money, in addition to operating revenue, to pay for its projects — meaning its budget is not typically supported by the county tax levy and doesn't affect property taxes. However, the County Board did approve a one-time $10 million boost for an airport expansion project in 2023 that will come from the levy, in addition to approving the overall airport budget increase.

A majority of the airport’s 2023 expenses are dedicated to projects that aim to expand the airport, with $77 million in grants to fund the projects and $4 million for capital improvement projects.

Next year's airport projects include:

  • $74 million to design and construct the airport terminal expansion.

  • $343,220 to design a new air traffic control tower.

  • $250,000 to design an additional ramp in the Northeast Business Park.

  • $2.8 million for the design of a microgrid.

The $74 million terminal expansion includes a redesigned public area for travelers, ticketing renovations, an increased baggage claim and a concourse expansion. Bids for the expansion project are due in May.

The project is estimated to cost $105 million once finished, with the majority of funding coming from federal and state grants.

Airport Abe Weber told finance committee members at an Oct. 11 meeting that the expansion is necessary to keep up with the growth of the airport as it recently became the third largest airport in Wisconsin behind Milwaukee and Madison.

Appleton International Airport also upgraded to a small hub airport from a non-hub primary airport, according to the Federal Aviation Association.

How much is the county spending?

The Outagamie County 2023 budget comes in at $420.3 million, a 30% increase from the $322.5 million 2022 budget.

How much is this going to cost me?

The tax levy necessary to support the budget is $66 million, a 1.97% increase.

The average home ($224,076 value) will pay $724 in county property taxes, a $17 or 2.4% increase from 2022.

What new items are in the budget?

The budget includes $9.45 million for various highway improvement projects in 2023, including:

  • $750,000 to reconstruct a portion of County JJ in Grand Chute to a three-way roadway.

  • $1.59 million to replace the County KK bridge over Kankapot Creek.

  • $2.1 million to improve the County CE and railroad intersection.

  • About $1.5 million to construct a roundabout at the intersection of County JJ and N.

  • $900,000 to add traffic lights and turn lanes at the intersection of County OO and French Road

Outagamie County is facing record-high employee turnover rates. To attract and retain employees, the county is continuing its one-time incentive payments in 2023. All full-time county employees will be given a $500 bonus in June and a $1,000 bonus in December, costing the county $1 million.

Several park improvements are included in the budget. The county devoted $550,000 to Mosquito Hill Nature Center for updating educational displays. An additional $250,000 has been donated to the project by Friends of Mosquito Hill.

Plamann Park is set to receive various improvements in 2023, with the county budgeting $250,000 toward a pavilion and playground equipment, with an additional $180,000 toward new restrooms and $81,700 to design a baseball diamond. Another $3.3 million will go toward paving Plamann Park.

Sophia Voight can be reached at svoight@postcrescent.com. Follow her on Twitter @sophia_voight.

This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Outagamie County 2023 budget nearly doubles Appleton Airport funding