2020 County Budget Hearings

For the Record  

Covid Funding – End of Year Adjustments.

COVID-19 APPROPRIATIONS:   $239,000 for the Music Center

Dec 14, 2020 Council Meeting – BCM Update.

  • Covid/CARES Act Money. County received approximately a $490K reimbursement as a result of the extra expenses associated with Covid, e.g., most (if not all) payroll costs. The money is going into its own general fund account and appropriations from this account is monitored by the “county council.” Commissioner Biddle has identified her intent to leverage the reimbursement to transfer $240K to the Music Center to cover costs to “rent space” and help them pay back a $150K loan from the county.
  • Schedule – County Office Bldg (Salmon Room)
          • August 19, 5:00 -7:30 p.m.
          • August 20, 5:00-7:30 p.m.
          • Aug 22,  5:00-8:00 p.m 
          • Aug 28, 5:00 -8:00 p.m.
          • Sep 16, 2019. 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
          • Oct 21, 2019 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.  – Vote to approve.

Sep 16, 2019.  County Council Meeting.  BCM Facebook post of the conversation.

  • The estimates that were made regarding the increase of revenue from the tax increase and estimated cost on residences were corrected. (Ref: BCD, Sep 10 article below).
    •  The calculation:  Max Levy ($4,551,293.00) multiplied by the 3.5% allowable growth factor (.035) equals $159,295.26
    • Estimate on individual properties:  Net Assessed value (total assessments minus allowable deductions) divided by 100 multiplied by .012).
  • Council approved the changes and will vote on the budget at their Oct 21 meeting. The new budget will be used to update the County Financial Plan.

Sep 10, 2019. County council votes to increase property taxes By Suzannah Couch. Impact on $150,000 property in Brown County estimated to be around $8.25 per year. BCD Facebook Post and Brown County Matters (BCM) Facebook Post

  • I attended the budget hearings this year as well as the last two years. The county applies an incremental – short term focused strategy. Little if any long-term analysis of revenue and expense trends.
  • Little understanding of the data the state and the county consultant uses that supports the recommendations for tax increases.
  • No budgets for capital improvements – infrastructure-related repairs and replacements. No identification of unfunded requirements.
  • No discussion on the impacts of tax increases.  Our income tax rate doubled in 10 years – are we headed the same way for property taxes?
  • I recommended the establishment of a citizen group that would include elected representatives to start looking at longer-term challenges and opportunities for improvement.  See my Aug 28 statement and suggestions below.

Aug 20, 2019. BCD. County council approves property tax increase, raises for county employees by Suzannah Couch    

Aug 28, 2019. My statement, suggestions and supporting detail shared with the county council.  20190831 County Budget Decisions and Suggestions

Brown County 2019 Certified Budget Order – includes the change in rates from the prior year

2019 Property Tax Rates by County   (2,061~ Taxing Districts)

DLGF – Citizens Guide to Property Tax

  • How is the tax levy determined?  The amount each unit is allowed to collect each year is based on the unit’s “maximum levy,” which is based on the amount of property taxes raised by the unit last year. Additionally, state law allows a unit of government to raise more levy than in the previous year. The amount by which the levy can increase is called the growth factor. A unit has the option of requesting the maximum levy or a lesser levy each year. If a unit chooses not to take its maximum levy in a given year, the unit’s overall maximum levy is not impacted.

DLGF – Training Materials – 2020 Budget & Gateway Training


7/23/2019 BCD. Property tax ‘thaw’ OK’d: Council says county facing shortfall in budgets by Suzannah Couch

Sep 4, “2018”.  BCD, Where do your taxes go? Leaders give overview of how government is funded By Sara Clifford

County Comprehensive Financial Plan 2016-2021.

2018 County Staffing Study.  

  • Compared salaries and jobs by similar size counties. Brown County among the highest in pay and benefits as compared to similar-sized counties,
  • The scope of the study did not include a workload analysis that consists of the following:
    • Identify services and specific outputs required by state statute
    • Identify the number of outputs
    • Identify the amount of time required to produce an output
    • Identify the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to produce the outputs.  Ensure the job description is accurate.
    • Identify the positions not specifically required by statute.  These positions may identify contracting-out opportunities.

2019 County Budget Hearings – Debt, Taxes, Revenue, Future

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