June 18, 2014
Here is a copy of the “Summary of Proposed Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2015” for the Jasper County Board of Commissioners. This is usually the only information on the budget the citizens of this county see, as it is published in the paper. Unfortunately, it doesn’t compare the figures with the previous year so we can see who gets cut and who gets more money.
The budget period for the county runs from July 1 to June 30 of every year. For the current year (FY14) the budget is $8,232,100. For the new year (FY15) the summary shows a budget of $8,819,001.
In reality the new FY15 budget is $9,299,012 or a one million dollar ($1M) increase. How can that be? Because you can not have a negative expense as shown on the budget summary. Instead of showing the transfer of money out of the Curbside account and into the General Fund as income of $480,000, the BOC has shown this as a negative expense offset by “Other Appropriations.” In reality the BOC expects to spend $9.3M in FY15.
Hopefully the BOC is not trying to fool the public or even themselves into thinking that $8.8M is all they will spend.
At several meetings it has been said that we are just going back to 2009 levels. According to the audits, the budget for 2009 was $8.5M. In 2008, the last of the big boom years, the budget was $9.1M. The FY2015 budget will be the largest budget in Jasper County history at $9.3M.
In 2009 the amount of property taxes levied was at an all time high of $5,166,292. In FY15 the amount of property taxes to be levied will hit a new record of $5,457,541; and this is while our values are still down below 2009 levels.
The City of Monticello has put an added burden on the County, and a 1 mil increase was added to the Sheriff’s budget to compensate for that; however, 1 mil is only $316,000. The School Board is not increasing its millage rate from FY14.
The people of this county haven’t gotten income increases anywhere near the amount BOC is increasing our property tax burden. Each BOC member can easily pay their property taxes with just a few months of their commissioner pay—an extra pay check for each of them. Most citizens don’t have that luxury.
The final public hearing on the budget will be Thursday, June 26 at 6:00PM. You still have time to voice your opinion.