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Supervisors set hearing for county budget

The Union County Board of Supervisors have set 10 a.m. Monday at the Board of Supervisors office as the date for the public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY) budget.

The proposed budget for FY is $12,474,479 and includes a capital projects bond of nearly $2 million for roads and transportation.

“This year the budget process was pretty straight forward,” Board President Ron Riley said. “Nobody was asking for anything out of the ordinary. Things are running, I think, very smoothly.”

“We’re very fortunate in all of our department heads and elected officials, they don’t try to pad things,” Board Vice-Chair Dennis Brown said. “They’re very honest with their budgets. When we do this budget thing in January and February, we’re trying to extrapolate that 18 or 19 months into the future. What’s it actually going to cost to do everything that we are required to do?”

The budget contains a proposed decrease of .08133 in the tax levy from 12.50133 to 12.42000 for FY based on per $1,000 of property valuation. The valuation of properties in Union County increased for FY to $530,890,714.

“I always try to make clear to people, just because our levy’s going down doesn’t mean taxes are lowered,” Riley said. “We were working with more valuation dollars, so the tax asking actually raised just a little bit. I thought we held the line real well, but we raised the tax asking from a year ago just a little bit, and that was right around $80,000.”

“We try to keep our levies down to kind of match the valuation going up, so we try to kind of equalize that a little bit,” Union County Auditor Sandy Hysell said. “And we are just one out of nine other taxing entities that’s part of that pie, that’s part of what you pay in taxes. Yeah, you bring it to the county, but we only get part of it. We send out the rest of it to your schools, your townships, your cities, your hospitals, your colleges, your assessor, your ag extension. They’re all a part of that. If you got one entity that maybe lowered their levy, but you have another entity that upped the levy, that all is in the equation.”

Of note, the budget for county environment and education will decrease significantly because of a Southern Iowa Council of Governments grant that has expired, and there will a 162 percent increase in capital projects because of the bond for roads and transportation.

“I think people sometimes forget, we are required to do certain things. That’s why we have these things in our budget. We don’t just go out looking for reasons to spend money. We’re required to do so,” said Brown. “We have to tax to make sure that happens, for the minimum, and then anything above and beyond, we have to justify to the property tax payers in Union County. ‘We’re taxing you this much because we think this has to be done. We think it’s important to do it.’”

To read the proposed budget see page 9A of the Thursday, March 1, edition of the Creston News Advertiser.

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