County discusses FY 2021, 2020 budgets

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Jones County Supervisors took approved several resolutions during its March 10 board meeting concerning the Fiscal Year 2021 budget and the FY 2020 budget.

     A public hearing was held, which is new requirement per Senate File 634. This means county and city governments must receive public comment on the proposed maximum General and Rural Fund tax levies in the county’s proposed FY 2021 budget.

     Prior to the public hearing, the county published the FY 2021 Maximum Gross Levy Notice. The notice indicated the worst-case scenario in terms of what the county might do with funding.  The total amount in the county’s General Fund was proposed for $6,316,868, a 6.76 percent increase; and in Rural Services, $2,203,753, a 7.36 percent increase.

     In reality, the board approved and adopted the following:

     • Total General Fund – $6,133,746, a 3.67 percent increase

     • Rural County Services – $2,203,753, a 7.36 percent increase (same as published)

     The maximum property tax dollars requested for both General Services and Rural Services for FY 2021 represents an increase greater than 102 percent from the maximum property tax dollars requested for the prior year, FY 2020.

     The proposed budget the county adopted projects that expenditures and transfers will not exceed projected revenues by $183,123. However, there are other funds from which the county can pull money.

     Dennis Holland, of Anamosa, was present to address the board concerning the FY 2021 budget. Holland asked what the overall assessed value increase would be for county residents.

     “I’m concerned because homes in the county have jumped quite a bit, and to increase the levy rate doesn’t look very good in my opinion,” Holland said. “Some people will be a little shocked and disappointed how will all played out.”

     County Auditor Janine Sulzner said there is an increase for county and city residents concerning the county levy, but the county does not control the taxable value of homes.

     “We’re only one portion of the tax bill,” she explained.

     “We advertised the worst-base scenario,” added Supervisor Wayne Manternach of what the public saw in the newspapers and online. “We can always reduce it.” Manternach said the board had to make some tough budget decisions this time around.

     The board also set three public hearings on the FY 2021 and FY 2020 budgets. The hearings will take place on Tuesday, March 31:

     • At 9:15 a.m. to take comment on the FY 2021 budget

     • At 9:20 a.m. to take comment on amending the FY 2020 budget, on the matter of reducing the departmental appropriations of certain departments by more than 10 percent or $5,000, whichever is greater

     • At 9:25 a.m. to take comment on amending the current (FY 2020) budget

     Concerning the FY 2021 budget, County Engineer Snead addressed the board regarding changes to his Secondary Road budget and his proposed staff wages.

     “I think there were some misconceptions about how our budget was proposed,” Snead said.

     When the supervisors reduced the salary requests, Snead explained they reduced his overall budget by that amount, allowing for less money for roads, bridges, and winter road maintenance.

     “Our budget has a 0 percent increase from what was requested last year,” said Snead, “if you take construction out of it.”

     Sulzner said the board cut $10,000 from every other department’s budget when it comes to expenditures.

     “We can’t add rock (to the roads) when our budget gets reduced every year,” added Snead. “And construction costs increase every year. Take that into consideration when you get calls from landowners for rock, salt, and winter services.”


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