Bill capping property tax concerns county officials


LEE COUNTY – A bill that is currently in front of the Iowa House of Representatives is proposing to limit the amount governmental agencies can bump property taxes annually.

The bill, House File 773, imposes city and county property tax and fund balance limitations beginning in fiscal year 2021, which is July 1, 2020.

The bill would remove current property tax levy rate limits for general funds and county general and rural funds and replace it with a potential 2% annual cap. Cities and counties would be able to increase that rate under certain circumstances, but only by passing a resolution. Then taxpayers could gather signatures to force a vote on the increase.

The move also would limits city’s general fund ending balances to 25% the funds budgeted expenditures.

According to the state’s Legislative Services Agency, the bill would directly impact county and city budgets, but not directly impact any other local level of government including schools and townships.

Lee County Supervisor Rick Larkin said the new structure could have a serious impact on county revenues and services.

Lee County Budget Director Cindy Renstrom put together an estimate of the financial impact over the four fiscal years from 2021-24.

Renstrom’s figures indicate the county will lose $400,203 over four years in it’s General Basic Fund and an additional $73,609 in it’s Rural Basic fund.

“These are the figures of how it will effect Lee County starting 2021. You can see the decrease in revenue that this legislation will demand if it passes,” Folluo said.

Folluo said all employees and county officials and residents should be contacting their legislators and let them know how you feel about the bill.

“It’s a party thing right now and the majority party brought it out and I don’t know if their intent is to pass it or not. But they can make changes to it all through the session,” Larkin said.

The bill would also combine public employees pensions with the general fund, a move IPERS supporters says is a backdoor attempt at tinkering with Iowa Public Employees Retirement System.

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