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The original item was published from 2/2/2019 12:19:00 PM to 2/4/2019 10:37:06 AM.

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Posted on: March 14, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Linn County Certifies Fiscal Year 2019 Budget With Decrease in Levy Rate

Levy rate comparison chart showing Iowa's 6 largest urban counties

The Linn County Board of Supervisors approved Linn County's fiscal year 2019 budget on March 14, 2018, following the final public hearing for the FY19 budget, which runs July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

Linn County’s total budget for FY19 is $117,980,000 and includes a 30-cent reduction in the countywide levy rate due to a decrease in the mental health levy.

FY19 Linn County Budget Highlights:

  • Budget of $117,980,000 – an increase of $6.6 million primarily in public safety, mental health and debt service
  • Countywide levy rate reduced by 30 cents to $5.84 per $1,000 of taxable value; this is a 30-cent reduction from previous years where Linn County’s countywide levy rate was $6.14 per $1,000 of taxable value for four years in a row (FY18, FY17, FY16 and FY15); the reduction is due to the mental health levy decrease
  • Impact to homeowner: County property tax decrease of 7 percent for city residents and 6 percent for rural residents (this is a $38 decrease for the owner of a $150,000 home)
  • Commercial and industrial property taxes decrease by 5 percent
  • Farmland taxes will increase 11 percent due to the agricultural rollback, offsetting the countywide levy rate decrease
  • Property taxes levied: $66 million, a decrease of $0.2 million or 0.4 percent from FY18 due to reduction in mental health levy
  • Property taxes account for 58 percent of Linn County’s budget
  • Local Option Sales Tax projects budgeted at $3 million for road construction; $1.5 million for Conservation projects; and $1.5 million applied to property tax relief in the rural fund
  • Achieves goal of general fund ending balance of 25 percent
  • Linn County’s 2019 fiscal year runs July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019

The adopted countywide levy rate for FY19 is $5.84 per $1,000 of taxable value. This is the second lowest levy rate among the six largest urban counties in Iowa. With this 30-cent levy rate reduction, homeowners in cities will see a decrease of 7 percent in their county property taxes and rural residents will see a decrease of 6 percent. This is a $38 decrease for the owner of a $150,000 home.

The rural services levy, which is in addition to the countywide levy rate for residents who live in unincorporated Linn County, will remain unchanged from FY18 at $2.71 per $1,000 of taxable value. The rural levy rate includes a reduction of $1.00 for rural residents from Local Option Sales Tax allocation. This reduction is a result of 25 percent of the Local Option Sales Tax revenue that provides property tax relief in the unincorporated areas.

Commercial and industrial property taxes in Linn County will decrease by 5 percent due to the 30-cent levy rate reduction.

Agricultural property taxes will increase 11 percent in FY19 due to the state agricultural rollback that increases the taxable value of agricultural land. This rollback offsets the countywide levy rate decrease.

Ending fund balance in Linn County’s general fund remains at 25 percent, as prescribed in Linn County’s financial policies.

Linn County’s reduction in the mental health levy is a result of the state requirement for Mental Health and Disability Services Regions to spend down their mental health fund balances. To comply with this requirement, Linn County reduced its mental health levy rate for FY19 and will use fund balance dollars to fund mental health expenditures for FY19.

“Linn County residents and property owners will see a benefit this year from Linn County being allowed to spend down our mental health fund balance for the Region,” Linn County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Harris said. “Once again, through our budgeting process, we have demonstrated our accountability to taxpayers through responsible budgetary decisions, which is a priority in our strategic plan.”

Linn County’s FY19 budget planning began in November 2017 led by Linn County Budget Director and CPA Dawn Jindrich. The budget was developed through more than 20 public meetings between the Linn County Board of Supervisors, other Linn County elected officials and department heads.

Linn County government accounts for approximately 16 percent of property taxes paid by Linn County property owners in incorporated areas. The remaining 84 percent of property taxes goes to the property taxpayer’s city of residence, school district and other taxing bodies in the county. Linn County taxes represent slightly more than one-third of property taxes for rural residents.

Watch the VIDEO of the March 14, 2018, public hearing to certify the FY2019 budget.

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