County levy rates increasing for FY2019

An increase in payment for public health services, planned work on county roads, preserving aging documents and rising health insurance costs, and only a modest increase in the total taxable valuation created a need for an increase in the county’s county-wide tax levy for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2018 (fiscal year 2019).

The proposed budget for FY19 increases the county-wide levy 14.5 cents after a 3-cent decrease for the current fiscal year. The rural levy, which is paid only on property not within incorporated areas, will increase .15 (per $1,000 in taxable valuation). That levy increased .01 (per $1,000 of taxable value) for FY18.

The total property valuation used for computing county-wide property tax dollars for the county is $655,727,000, an increase of 1.29 percent from the current year. The taxable valuation is based on property values as of Jan. 1, 2017. A year ago the increase was 4.01 percent.

The taxable valuation in the county’s urban areas increased 4.67 percent to $184,259,500. The rural taxable valuation increased only .03 percent to $471,476,600.

The .03 percent increase in the taxable valuation of agricultural property relates to an increase in the state-mandated rollback. The rollback is a percentage of assessed value against which property taxes can be levied. For FY18, the rollback on ag property is 47.5 percent. Owners pay taxes on 47.5 percent of the assessed valuation. For FY19, the rollback is 54.45 percent. Owners will pay taxes on a larger percentage of their assessed valuation, but still, the total value the county can tax against reflects only a .03 percent increase.

The residential rollback for FY19 is 55.63 percent, compared to 56.4 percent in FY18. Homeowners will pay taxes on a smaller percentage of the assessed value of their house.

The proposed budget sets the countywide levy at 5.795 (dollars per $1,000 of taxable valuation), 14.5 cents more than the current rate. That will generate $3,800,000 in property tax revenue, compared to $3,658,000 in the current year.

The rural levy, a separate levy paid by rural property owners, is increased 15 cents to 3.35 (dollars per $1,000 of taxable valuation). Rural taxpayers will pay a total levy rate of 9.145. The rural levy will generate $1,579,500, compared to $1,508,000 in FY18.

All revenue from property taxes is estimated at $5,379,000, compared to $5,166,000 for the current year.

Total revenues and transfers in is pegged at $12,930,000, a decrease of nearly $612,000 from the re-estimated FY18. That budget line item may fluctuate depending on funds the county handles on a “flow through” basis.

Total expenditures and transfers out for FY19 are estimated at $13,925,000, an increase of $237,000 from the re-estimated FY18. Again, that line is affected by flow through funds.

Expenditures in the various service areas total $12,352,000 and are as follows:

Public safety and legal services – Sheriff’s office and Law Enforcement Center, $1,488,000. The $1,946,000 total also includes county attorney, juvenile court services and emergency services.

Physical health and social services – Public health, veterans services, children and family services, etc.,$617,000, an increase of $93,000. The supervisors spent considerable time this year exploring changing to a county-based public health department rather than contracting with Greene County Medical Center to provide public health services. The supervisors determined it was in the county’s best interest to continue using the medical center and increased payment from $200,000 to $300,000.

Mental health, intellectual disability and developmental disability – $375,500, a decrease of $4,500. The mental health levy is determined by Central Iowa Community Services.

County environment and education – Conservation, economic development, libraries, county fair, housing programs, etc. $696,000, a decrease of $8,000.

Roads and transportation – $5,906,000, an increase of $679,000. Of the expenses, $2,552,000 is for roadway maintenance and $2,830,500 is for equipment purchase and operations, tools and supplies, and buildings. Another $241,517 is budgeted for bridge work on County Road E-18 east of Highway 4 (the old brick schoolhouse) in Dawson Township.

Revenue going toward the secondary roads budget includes $2,989,000 from the state road use tax, $1,138,750 from the rural levy, and another $51,500 from the countywide levy. The local option sales/service tax (LOSST) will provide $325,000.

Government services to residents – Motor vehicle services at the treasurer’s office, recorder’s office, elections administration, $396,600.

Administration – Auditor and treasurer except as noted above, board of supervisors, general services data processing and county liability/unemployment insurance and other insurance, $1,964,000.

Nonprogram current – Discretionary funding for organizations and grants for “brick and mortar” projects, $210,000.

The county has budgeted $25,00 to pay a share of the $100,000 cost of replacing the to replace the elevator at the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower. The Bell Tower Community Foundation has committed $25,000 and a grant application is pending for the remaining funds. The full cost of the elevator is in the budget, with (flow-through) revenue listed for the cost above $25,000.

The estimated total fund balance at the end of the new fiscal year, June 30, 2019, is estimated at $3,112,000, a decrease of $995,000 from the re-estimated FY18 fund balance. The total fund balance is 25 percent of expenditures.

A public hearing will be held on the proposed FY 2019 budget Monday, March 12, at 9 am in the board room at the courthouse. Click here to see the notice of the public hearing.

The county levies are only a portion of a person’s total property tax bill. Typically, the county tax is less that 30 percent of the total tax bill for rural property owners and less than 20 percent for non-rural property owners.

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