Government

Linn County property tax levy to drop by 30 cents

Owner of a $150,000 home would see $38 annual decrease

(File photo) The Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids.
(File photo) The Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids.

CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County’s property tax levy is slated for a 30-cent drop this summer.

The Linn County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved the nearly $118 million Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which puts the county levy rate at $5.84 per $1,000 in taxable valuation. The county had maintained a $6.14 levy for the last several years.

“It’s very gratifying to come to a conclusion after more than three months of budgeting ... and say that we are reducing our levy rate for the first time in three years,” Supervisor Ben Rogers said.

All told, Linn County homeowners in cities will see a seven percent decrease in their county levy rate, while residents in unincorporated Linn County will see their rate decrease by six percent, according to a county news release.

Essentially, the change means a roughly $38 annual decrease for the owner of a $150,000 home.

One of the biggest factors in the county’s levy reduction was the board’s decision earlier this year to reduce the county mental health levy — which goes to the Mental Health and Disability Services Regions — and use accrued fund balance dollars instead.

“Linn County residents and property owners will see a benefit this year from Linn County being allowed to spend down our mental health fund balance for the Region,” Supervisor John Harris said in a Wednesday news release. “Once again, through our budgeting process, we have demonstrated our accountability to taxpayers through responsible budgetary decisions, which is a priority in our strategic plan.”

Fiscal Year 2019 begins July 1 of this year.

On Tuesday, the Cedar Rapids City Council voted to approve the city’s Fiscal year 2019 budget, which marks the 10th straight with a residential property tax rate at $15.22 per $1,000 in taxable valuation.

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Johnson County Supervisors last week voted 4-1, with Supervisor Janelle Rettig opposed, to approve a $127.7 million Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

While an approximately 16 percent increase from this year’s $110.4 million budget, the county’s tax rate is slated to drop from $6.85 per $1,000 valuation to $6.61.

County officials say expiring Tax Increment Finance districts, translates into more tax revenue for the county.

Rettig said in a statement she voted against the budget because of concerns over the use of some conservation bond funds.

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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