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Monday, Mar 30, 2015

County approves millage, budget

Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:13 PM

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Tuesday's second and final budget hearing lasted 30 minutes and was pretty much a slam dunk for county commissioners, who took care of most of their business at the first hearing two weeks earlier.

Commissioners formally adopted a $412 million budget for fiscal year 2012-13 and a general fund tax rate of 5.9169 mills.

Under the rollback tax rate, Budget Manager George Zoettlein said the county would receive the same amount of ad valorem revenue as last year and most residents would see no increase in taxes because of declining property values.

The approved general fund budget was $92 million.

Rather than cut more employee positions, commissioners earlier this month opted to take some $1.8 million from its judicial reserve fund to balance the budget.

That money was set aside in 2005 and was unencumbered. Even with tapping that fund, there is still some $5 million of county money remaining in that fund.

A mill is a tax rate on property based on $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

As he did two weeks ago, County Commissioner John Druzbick was the sole dissenter on both the tax rate and budget votes.

Druzbick was reluctant to dip into reserves and sought a higher tax rate, especially with the anticipated shortfall next year.

The new fiscal year budget goes into effect Oct. 1.

One resident, Randi Redmon, spoke in support of county commissioners' continued support of county libraries, which are fully funded this year but — except for grants — face an uncertain future in 2014.

Zoettlein said this new budget may be put to bed but work now begins on next year. He is anticipating an overall $9 million shortfall going into the 2013-14 fiscal year budget.

"We have to start looking at it right away," Zoettlein said.

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