Board of Supervisors issue concern regarding pending Property Tax Legislation
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Sue Elliott, Project Manager
Polk County Board of Supervisors
DES MOINES, Iowa – May 8, 2012 — The Polk County Board of Supervisors expressed concern today regarding the pending property tax legislation and its impact on services to Polk County citizens. The Board took action to defer the establishment of a congregate meal site in Grimes for 30 days pending further review of the impact the property tax legislation will have on cities and counties.
“In light of the discussions at the legislature regarding property tax reform, it appears to us that this legislation will have such a negative impact on services we are able to provide Polk County residents, it is only prudent that we wait until the legislature has acted before we can review existing and future services in Polk County. This action does not mean that we are opposed to opening a meal site in Grimes, but these are real people and services that we will not be able to provide in the future if this legislation passes”, stated 2nd District Supervisor E.J. Giovannetti.
The Board of Supervisors and management went through the FY 12/13 budget cycle by identifying efficiencies and approving reorganizations which resulted in the elimination of 60 jobs from Polk County’s table of organization. The impact of the pending property tax legislation which will result in a $1.7 to $3.1 million dollar shortfall for FY 14/15 was unanticipated and will impact Polk County services. Once the proposed legislative changes are fully enacted, Polk County’s tax revenues could decline by as much as $21 million per year.
“The Board of Supervisors will direct staff to evaluate all non-statutory services for consideration of elimination or reduction pending the implementation of the new state property tax bill. With the combination of declining property values for the first time in over 20 years, apartment and commercial property owners paying less, and the limitation placed on residential property tax, there are no other available sources of revenue for counties with the exception of a special election to make up this shortfall. Polk County can’t find additional efficiencies to bring down costs based on cuts previously implemented for FY 12/13,” stated Board of Supervisors Chair Angela Connolly.
Examples of non-statutory Polk County services include services to juveniles, adults, elderly, families and veterans, services provided to victims in crisis, health department clinical services, housing programs, library funding, infrastructure, conservation, capital projects and emergency management.
No decisions have been made by the Board of Supervisors regarding the future of Polk County services, but the Board expressed that it is important all citizens of Polk County are aware the impact the pending property tax legislation will have on real services as a result of this structural budget deficit. The elimination of these services will result in a long term change in Polk County’s budget and the services it is able to provide.