Racine County Eye has expanded its coverage over the past six months. You have come to count on us for stories about our coverage of COVID-19, the elections, social justice issues, business spotlights, hometown heroes, and real estate.

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With a presidential election looming next year, Mount Pleasant trustees last week approved additional funds in the 2016 budget and increased the village mill rate by just over 3 percent. Citing the rising cost of health insurance and a decrease in state aid, trustees also approved borrowing $1.9 million for roads projects and funding a new parks position at $70,000 a year, a story in The Journal Times reads. Property owners will pay $7.53 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $7.33 per $1,000 in assessed value this year. Village President Kurt Wahlen told the newspaper the village in 2017 will see a decrease of $375,000 in state aid, but the 2016 tax increase should cover the shortfall. By raising the village levy from $16.9 million to $17.6 million, Mount Pleasant is not participating in a state program for municipalities that limit spending growth. Also included in the 2016 budget is a bump in the police department. Four additional officers will be funded primarily by a federal grant and a donation from SC Johnson. What is missing from the budget is the money necessary to fund Mount Pleasant’s portion of a study to explore an independent school district, but the matter will go before the Finance Committee in the next few weeks, the story reads.

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In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/