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Budget approved

Polk unanimously approves no tax increase budget

COLUMBUS—Polk County has a new budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 with no tax increases to either property or fire taxes.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, which was done live on Facebook as well as a call-in, but no public was allowed.

Commissioners also held a final budget work session on Monday afternoon where a few minor changes were made. Commissioners also held a public hearing last month on the budget.

Commissioner Chair Myron Yoder said the county still does not know what kind of shortfall next year’s budget will have because of COVID-19. Commissioners have discussed the unknowns, especially from sales tax revenue. Yoder said the county did not appropriate fund balance next fiscal year, which he said is very good considering these times.

The total general fund revenues are budgeted at is for $24,044,251, with the tax rate remaining at 54.94 cents per $100 of property valuation.

“This year’s budget does not include any tax increase and does not use fund balance appropriation to balance the budget,” Pittman told commissioners in May. “This is a year of budgeting like none other I have experienced as a manager. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, we know that there will be economic impacts to businesses and residents next fiscal year. Those impacts will directly affect our budget in declining sales tax revenues and our property tax collection could also be reduced.”

Pittman said the sales and property tax are the known issues and there will be numerous unknowns.”

Pittman budgeted a 10 percent decrease over this year’s sales tax revenue because of the virus. He said he based that decrease from state resources and local trends.

Major capital expenses proposed for the county next year includes $293,200 for the sheriff’s office for new patrol vehicles, computer replacements and investigative supplies; $148,910 for the transportation department for vehicles, which will be reimbursed 90 percent; $84,000 for solid waste for a forklift, maintenance building and recycling bin replacements; $20,370 for the department of social services for office chairs, computers and furniture; $16,759 for the library for technology updates and building improvements; $16,311 for the communication center for net clock and computer replacements; $15,000 for the recreation department for gym floor sanding, paint and refinish; $6,788 for the tax department for computer replacements and office chairs and $5,250 for the EMS for a radio for an ambulance, portable radios and a computer.

There are also some minor personnel changes, including making a part-time animal control position full-time and employee raises across the board of 2.5 percent beginning on Jan. 1, 2021.

The new budget year begins July 1.