County property tax levies to decrease slightly

~by Janice Harbaugh for GreeneCountyNewsOnline

The Greene County board of supervisors at its Feb. 6 meeting approved setting a public hearing for a proposed property tax levy in Greene County. The hearing will be Feb. 24 at 9 am in the supervisors’ boardroom at the courthouse. Taxpayers will see a decrease in the levy rates due to trimmed expenses and increased total taxable valuations.

Auditor Jane Heun presented the proposed property tax levy to the board. Current year (FY20) countywide expenses (general basic and supplemental) total $4,530,985, requiring a countywide levy rate of $6.40 (per $1,000 taxable value). The countywide levy is $6.69 for the current year.

The board’s proposed FY21 countywide expenses total $4,485,973, a decrease of $45,000. The proposed countywide levy rate is $6.08.

Current rural services expenses total $1,737,934 with a levy rate of $3.34 (per $1000 taxable value). The proposed FY21 rural services property tax dollars total $1,766,991 – an increase of $29,000 – supported by a rural levy of $3.40.

Rural taxpayers will pay $9.48 (per thousand), a decrease of 61 cents.

The board reviewed the information. Following the public hearing on Feb 24, the board must adopt a resolution approving the maximum property and utility replacement tax dollars that can be assessed for the FY21 budget year.

Heun explained a super-majority vote of 2/3 of the board is required for approval when either of the combined proposed levy rates exceeds 102 percent over the current year. This is not the case for the FY21 proposal.

The deadline to complete the county budget has been extended to March 31.

Also at the Feb. 6 meeting, the supervisors heard positive reports on the Boone/Greene County Probation Services pilot program. After a slow start, the program has blossomed.

Diane Hinderaker, director of Boone/Greene County Probation, reported the program has reached the limit of 20 individuals. “The pilot program ends in July,” she said, “but we could look at a new contract for a full program without a cap on the number of probationers.”

Sheriff Jack Williams reported on savings to the county from having probation supervision as compared to probation without supervision. Without violating confidentiality, he described instances where people had been in frequent contact with law enforcement during probation without supervision. When the same people received probation officer support, they no longer came into conflict. “This saves time and mileage,” said Williams.

County attorney Thomas Laehn reported positive results from the pilot program. He spoke to the positive effects on families and the community when people on probation are successful.

Hinderaker reported the contract amount paid to Boone County Probation for this fiscal year is $8,515. Clients meet once a month with their probation supervisors.

The board encouraged Laehn and Williams to work with Hinderaker on a new probation services agreement with Greene County.

The board unanimously approved the promotion of deputy Shane Allen to the rank of sergeant. Williams described additional duties Allen will be providing. Allen will be paid 80 percent of sheriff salary effective March 1.

Attorney Laehn advised the board he will be impaneling a grand jury on Tuesday, Feb 11. He noted Greene County has been allotted 10 trials per year by the state level court administration. This number is primarily based on available judges in the county and pertains to felony trials.

The board went into drainage district trustee session to officially award the DD191 project near Scranton to Healy Excavating and to approve a pay estimate and change order for DD14 located south of Jefferson.

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