New levy is about 6 cents higher at $10.327 for next fiscal year
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – A bump to the county’s general supplemental fund to offset added ambulance costs was approved by the Lee County board Tuesday.
At its regular meeting, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved setting the maximum levy for the next fiscal year at $10.327/$1,000 assessed valuation.
“This year, we have to bump up general supplemental to cover expenses of the ambulance service. They have close to $800,000 in expenses in supplemental that we didn’t take into consideration for this budget year, so we need to get some money put back into the balance so we don’t run dry,” County Budget Director Cindy Renstrom said.
She told the board the general supplemental levy will be set at an 11.21% increase over the current year to add about $1 million to that fund to cover those expenses.
Because the increase to the fund was more than 2% over the previous year, the resolution to approve that levy would have to be passed with a super majority of the board, which requires four of five supervisors.
Supervisor Garry Seyb, Jr. said it should be made clear that this increase had nothing to do with the pay increases the board recently passed.
Board Chairman Matt Pflug asked what the total dollars were for the pay increases, but Renstrom said she hadn’t prepared that figure for this meeting because it didn’t impact the voted-on increase.
The current year levy is $10.258 and this year’s will be $10.327 or an increase of about 6 cents. The county approved $10.70 last year, but the state pulled some of the mental health levy out of the property tax, dropping it about 45 cents.
“This super majority vote has nothing to do with these raises,” Seyb said.
The general supplemental basically pays the benefits for the county employees. Wages are paid out of the county’s general basic fund.
According to the property tax levy worksheet, the county’s taxable valuation is $1.64 billion up about $42 million from last year. The county is requesting $5.76 million for general basic, $6.32 million for general supplemental with a combined tax rate of $7.343.
Rural service valuations are estimated at $906.6 million with $2,125,085 in requested tax dollars for rural basic services. There is no rural supplemental fund, leaving an estimated rural services tax rate of $2.344.