Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/969813

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 25, 2014

County tax rate drops this year

By Linda Wenger | Mar 01, 2013

There is good news for property taxpayers when it comes to the tax rate for the county. The proposed county tax rate for fiscal year 2013-14 will decrease approximately 90 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation for urban residents and nearly 99 cents for rural residents. That is an 11.22 percent decrease for urban dwellers and 8.9 percent decrease for rural residents. (These figures do not include tax rates for school districts or cities.)
“It looks like all the levies are down slightly and the big reason for that is mental health,” county budget director Cyndie Sinn said to the Washington County Board of Supervisors during the Feb. 21 work session.
Sinn said that the mental health levy decreased by 50 cents due to the regionalization of mental health services that was determined by the Iowa Legislature.
Supervisor Steve Davis said the future funding of mental health services is uncertain.
“Next year, we may have to raise it back up,” Davis said, if the state decides to change the funding stream for the following year.
Even so, Davis also pointed out that the tax rate would have dropped by about 50 cents if mental health funding had stayed the same.
A portion of the decrease is due to paying off two paving projects — one at Orchard Hill and one at Marr Park.
According to the proposed county budget, the total revenue and other sources of funding totals $21,114,858 for 2013-14. That is down approximately $2 million from the re-estimated budget of the current fiscal year — 2012-13.
The total expenditures and other sources for 2013-14 is $25,488,344. That is down nearly $700,000.
The proposed tax rates per $1,000 of taxable valuation are $7.12 for urban areas and $10.78 for rural areas.
The change in the property rollbacks will not have a big impact on the county property tax rate.
In general terms, county treasurer Garrett said, “Although you’re going to be paying on more value because of the rollback, your actual tax bill is going to be less because of the levy rate being down.”
As an example, County Treasurer Jeff Garrett said, “I kind of took my house out in the country and, if you take a $150,000 assessed value home, you’re actually going to be paying on $3,000 more of value than you did last year. But with the levy rate being a dollar less, it’s still $37 a year less in actual tax.”
The supervisors will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget during their March 12 weekly meeting. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be held in the Board of Supervisors Room at the county courthouse.

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