Monroe County Council Adopts 2016 Budget

2015 Monroe County Council
2015 Monroe County Council

Last night the Monroe County Council unanimously adopted a $63.1M budget along with the property tax rates and levies for Monroe County Government for 2016. In part, this budget will be funded by $25.8M in property tax levies and a property tax rate of $0.4723 for every $100 of assessed value.

The budget is divided into a number of different funds. Some of these funds by law are reviewed by the State Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), and others are considered “home rule funds”. This distinction is more historical than substantive, however; many of the home rule funds are very tightly restricted by law. After review by the DLGF, it is likely that the property tax levy and property tax rates will be reduced, as the rates and levies are always calculated using a smaller assessed value than the actual assessed value as a margin for error. In addition, the request for the General Fund includes an appeal for an “excess levy” — a property tax levy outside of the normal limits to correct several past errors and major property tax appeals — that will not necessarily be granted.

The following DLGF-reviewed budgets, tax levies, and tax rates were adopted for 2016:

2016 Monroe County DLGF-Reviewed Funds
2016 Monroe County DLGF-Reviewed Funds

Here are a few notes about several of these funds:

  • Debt Payment fund is for the mortgage on the Showers building. This debt will be paid off in 2017
  • Bond #2 is a one-year general obligation bond for county capital needs, including major building repairs, security upgrades, and vehicles. This bond will be paid off in 2016
  • Convention and Visitors Bureau is funded by the innkeepers tax
  • Highway and Local Road and Street funds are funded by gas tax and vehicle excise taxes
  • The Cumulative Bridge budget of $460,246 looks lower than it really is because the bridge budget and specific projects are always presented mid-year and funded through additional appropriations

The following budgets for home-ruled funds were also adopted. These funds do not have property tax rates and levies associated with them:

Monroe County 2016 Budgets for Home-Ruled
Monroe County 2016 Budgets for Home-Ruled

Just a couple of notes about these home-ruled funds:

  • The Juvenile Facility COIT fund is supported by the 0.95% Juvenile County Option Income Tax (JCOIT)
  • The COIT County Distributive Shares fund is supported by the County’s share of the 1% County Option Income Tax (COIT), and includes several major county departments, including the Sheriff, Courts, Probation, Treasurer, Auditor, Surveyor, Weights and Measures, and the Election Board. The Council intends to move the Election Board expenses out of the COIT fund and into a separate Elections fund early in 2016.
  • The Westside Economic Development, 46 Corridor Economic Development, and Fullerton Pike Economic Development funds are the 3 Monroe County Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts

The next step is for the DLGF to review the budgets, tax rates, and tax levies. The County will receive what is called a 1782 statement, which represents the results of the DLGF review. The DLGF review is based on the financial statements submitted along with the statutes related to budgets, rates, and levies; it isn’t making a policy decision on the specific expenditures. The County has 10 days to review and respond to the 1782 statement, after which the results are final. The County will then receive a final budget order from the DLGF.

This was also the last meeting for County Councilor Rick Dietz, who resigned in order to move out of his district (District IV) with his new wife. We all wish Rick well!

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