An increase in property valuation left Thayer County Commissioners with a solid bottom line last week as accountant Brian Blobaum filled them in on the county’s fiscal position. “Valuations keep going up and with costs staying relatively the same, the budget is looking very good,” Blobaum said. “Even after increasing the courthouse project fund from $450,000 to $500,000, you are in pretty good shape.”
Blobaum said the county’s financial position improved from $4.1 million to $4.3 million this year, so lowering the levy for a third year in a row would be okay. “If you lower it another two cents, you will be fine,” he said.
In 2009, the commissioners dropped the tax request from 34.2 cents to 30 cents, then considered another four-cent drop last year, but ended up playing it safe by lowering the levy another two cents. In 2010, commissioner Dave Bruning said he wasn’t against lowering the levy, but didn’t want to “get behind the eight-ball. We don’t want to be where we need to use the inheritance fund to balance the budget,” he said. All three commissioners expressed the same sentiment this year. “We just need to cover expenses,” commissioner Chris Frye said.
Blobaum said although there isn’t any real inflationary indication yet, there’s nothing saying it couldn’t happen and suggested the commissioners stay conservative when setting the new tax request. Commissioner Frye said he thought the county was already seeing some indication of inflation as costs for road equipment continues to climb.
Bruning thought a two-cent drop, 28 to 26 cents, would cover expenses well enough without causing a hardship on the budget, while at the same time providing tax relief to county landowners.
A budget hearing will take place Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m., during the next regular meeting of the commission.
The commissioners also set 2011-12 levy allocations for county entities: all rural fire districts will receive .055 cents; the Chester and Davenport cemetery districts will receive .008 cents; the Byron, Hubbell and Belvidere community buildings will receive .015 cents and the Thayer County Ag Society will receive .02 cents. These rates have not changed in the last several years.