Linn County’s FY18 budget runs July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. The budget document contains detailed information about the budget, including:
- the process Linn County uses to create the budget through a series of public meetings
- expenditures by service area
- revenue sources
- capital projects
- performance indicators by department
- and more.
The expenditure budget for fiscal 2018 is $111,367,000, an overall increase of $3,749,000 or 3.5% from the fiscal 2017 adopted budget. Page 7 in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget document explains overall increases and decreases in Linn County's nine expenditure categories.
Property tax revenue accounts for 56% of Linn County's budget. The trend in taxes as a percentage of total revenues and in taxes paid by homeowners is relatively unchanged over time due to the annual budget objective of no significant impact to taxpayers. Net property taxes increased by 4.4% or $2,675,000 from fiscal 2017 as a result of taxable valuation growth. The countywide levy rate will remain at $6.14 per thousand dollars of taxable value. Rural residents will pay $8.85 per thousand dollars of taxable value, including the rural services levy rate of $2.71 with net property taxes increasing due to valuation growth.
Funding decisions as to the best allocation of financial resources were made in accordance with the Linn County Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2017-2021.
Performance Based Budget
Since 1996, Linn County has used the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) approach to performance based budgeting to create its annual budget.
This method measures effort and accomplishments so that performance data can be collected and analyzed, including comparisons with other public and private entities, and informed decisions can be made regarding public services and the efficient use of tax dollars.
Linn County's major classes of expenditures:
- Public safety and legal services
- Physical health and social services
- Mental health
- Roads and transportation
- Capital projects
- County environment and education
- Government services to residents
- Debt service
The FY18 countywide levy rate of $6.14 is the second lowest of the six largest urban counties in the State. This marks the fourth year in a row that the countywide levy rate has remained unchanged.
Countywide taxable valuation growth for the fiscal 2018 budget is 5.5%, compared to a 3.6% average for the past 10 years, but most taxpayers will pay the same amount in fiscal 2018 as they did in 2017.
Commercial and industrial property will be taxed at 90% of assessed value again in fiscal 2018, due to legislative action that provides for a "rollback". The rollback began in fiscal year 2015 with property taxed at 95%, followed by the permanent decrease to 90% in 2016. State funding to offset the loss to local governments was included in the legislation, however, statewide funding is capped at the fiscal 2017 level.
Rural property owners will see an additional $.02 reduction in the rural services levy rate in fiscal 2018 due to increased Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenue. In fiscal year 2015, the levy rate was initially reduced by $0.93 as a result of property tax relief from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenue approved by rural voters. The rural services levy rate that had been $3.71 for several years will be $2.71 in fiscal year 2018, resulting in a combined rural levy rate of $8.85 paid by residents in the unincorporated areas.
Overall property taxes levied will increase by 5.5% from fiscal year 2017 due to valuation growth.
Approximately 16 percent of property taxes paid by Linn County property owners in incorporated areas are used to fund Linn County government operations and services. The remaining 84 percent of property taxes paid goes to the property tax payer’s city of residence, school district, and other taxing bodies in the county. Linn County taxes represent slightly more than one-third of property taxes for rural residents. Each property tax bill shows the percentage breakdown specific to that property.
Linn County has earned the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for 22 consecutive years.