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County budget approved

The Union County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget following a public hearing Monday at the supervisor office.

No one was present to comment for or against the budget during the public hearing.

The budget, which included an 8.133 cent decrease in the tax levy from 12.50133 to 12.42 per $1,000 in property valuation, will take effect July 1.

“I thought the process went well. We were able to lower the levy from a year ago,” Board President Ron Riley said. “Our valuations were up somewhat from a year ago to approximately $530 million this year. Last year was right at $514 million, so actually we had a few more dollars to work with. I believe our total tax asking went up $80,000. So, on an $11 million budget, I felt like we held the line pretty good.”

The county’s revenues are down almost $6 million this year. However, the decrease can be deceiving.

“Most of that has to do with the bonded money that we bonded for last year,” Riley said. “$2.2 million that was in last year’s budget and we spent out this year, so that’s a portion of it. And then, the SICOG (Southern Iowa Council of Governors) grant basically went off, which was another $3 million, so that’s the difference in our revenues. It was pretty straight forward. No surprises. There were some purchases of some new equipment – new election equipment. A lot of that is necessary. You always have to keep on top of things and keep your equipment in good shape.”

Overall, the supervisors agree, the entire process of planning the budget went well.

“These guys that come in with their budget requests, they know what they’re doing,” said Vice-chair Dennis Brown. “They don’t pad things. They pretty much have it right where it needs to be. So, it makes the process go pretty well.”

Board member Dale Cline had his first experience working on a county budget, and he said, “It was quite easy this year in the process for me because I expected that we would really have to crunch some numbers, but there were no astronomical requests. Each department head knew where they stood, know what they need to maintain the service that they provide. We moved a little bit around, but for the most part, it spoke for itself. It speaks for each department head also.”

While the county may have been able to lower its tax levy, it is only one of nine taxing entities, so Union County residents may not see their FY2019 taxes decrease because some of the other eight taxing entities may have increased their levies. The increased value of Union County properties is another reason residents may not see a decrease in their taxes.

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