Although county tax levy drops, tax bills may not
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Despite Henry County’s tax levy rate decreasing by 6 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation, the county will be receiving $244,727 more in tax revenue in the upcoming fiscal year.
The fiscal year 2013-2014 budget approved by the board of supervisors on Tuesday morning calls for a tax rate of $7.9368 per $1,000 taxable valuation for urban areas and $11.5868 per $1,000 taxable valuation for rural areas.
To put this in perspective, a rural property with a taxable valuation of $50,000 will be taxed $579.34, and a rural property with a taxable valuation of $120,000 will be taxed $1,390.42.
Also adding to a potential increase in residential tax bills is the change in the residential rollback. In fiscal 2013, the rollback was approximately 49 percent and is at 52 percent for fiscal 2014. That means residential property has a taxable value of 49 percent of its assessed value in 2013 and in 2014 will be taxed at 52 percent of its assessed value.
The 2014 levy is a decrease of 6.104 per $1,000 taxable valuation from the fiscal year 2012-2013 rates of $7.99784 per $1,000 taxable valuation for urban areas and $11.64784 per $1,000 for rural areas.
Despite the decrease in the levy rate, the county will be receiving an additional $244,727 in tax revenue in fiscal year 2013-2014.
County Auditor Shelly Barber explained that this is due to the valuation increasing. The increase in valuation means that the portion of the property that is taxable has increased, so residents are paying taxes on a larger portion of their property’s assessed value.
For the individual taxpayer, this may or not mean an increase in taxes, noted Barber, as it depends on the value of the property.
The county’s valuation has increased by $28.2 million, meaning that there is $28.2 million more that the county can levy taxes against. She noted that this is due to new growth in the county, such as new home construction, home remodeling and new business construction.
For the county, this translates to increased tax revenue. In fiscal year 2013-2014, the county will receive $7,306,549 in taxes levied on property, with $5,927,220 from countywide levies and $1,379,329 from rural only levies. By comparison, in fiscal year 2012-2013, the county received $7,061,822 from property taxes.
Total revenues for fiscal year 2013-2014 are listed at $13,362,246. This is a decrease of $1,335,610 from the $14,697,856 in revenues in fiscal year 2013-2014. County Auditor Shelly Barber said that most of this decrease is due to changes in mental health funding.
Total expenditures for fiscal year 2013-2014 are listed at $15,331,258, which is $306,327 more than the $15,024,931 spent in fiscal year 2012-2013.
One major area of increase is in the roads and transportation budget. On the Roads and Transportation line, expenditures are listed at $4,514,500, which is an increase of $831,500 from fiscal year 2012-2013’s expenditures of $3,683,000.
Most of this increase is in the roadway maintenance category, with an increase of $455,500 — mostly for roads —and the roadway expenditures category, with an increase of $368,000 — mostly for new equipment.
On the other hand, the county will be spending more than half a million less on capital projects. There is $1,143,990 budgeted for fiscal year 2013-2014, a decrease of $578,462 from the $1,722,452 spent in fiscal year 2012-2013.
During the county’s public hearing on the budget, rural Mt. Pleasant resident Steve Wilson expressed his concern over high expenditures by the Henry County Conservation Department.
“I’m concerned that we don’t focus on conservation,” said Wilson, referencing expenditures of $40,000 for a new restroom facility for the campgrounds and a $20,000 study on the deteriorating Oakland Mills Walk Bridge.
In other business Tuesday morning, the supervisors awarded bids to Karl Chevrolet of Ankeny for two pickup trucks for the secondary roads department. Both trucks are Chevy Silverados and were bid at $23,532.
The supervisors also approved a policy naming County Engineer Bill Belzer as Title Six coordinator. Belzer explained that Title Six basically states that the county will not discriminate, will encourage non-discrimination, prove that it does not discriminate and that if anyone does discriminate there will be an investigation.
“Quite frankly, it’s the law. They have to abide by it anyway,” said Belzer.
“Now it’s in writing,” noted Jelen McCall, office manager for the engineer’s department.
Having this policy and coordinator in place is a requirement in order to accept federal aid. It also extends into entities that have a contract with the county. This means, for example, that when the county buys or sells land, there will need to be language in the contract or agreement that the other party will not discriminate.
The supervisors also voted to allow New York Life voluntary insurance to be a part of the county’s benefit package.