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Cut, run, or levy a local option sales tax

The Linn County supervisors began reviewing department budgets today at 1:30 p.m., and they’re at a crossroads.

Looks like they have three choices: cut the budget, operate at a loss for the fiscal year, or find a way to get more revenue (local option sales tax). The budget will be finalized Feb. 17.

There’s a $3 million shortfall because the jail is closed and isn’t earning its usual revenue for housing federal/non-Linn County inmates.

“They do need to redirect any money that they can to the county’s general fund, because we’re short the inmate revenue,” Linn Budget Director Dawn Jindrich said. (She and Finance Director Steve Tucker prepare the budgets for presentation to supervisors.)

The supervisors will save $400,000 by cutting the county’s capital improvements budget, Jindrich said, but that still leaves them $2.6 million short.

Actually raising property taxes to overcome the deficit looks unlikely, Jindrich said, adding that it’s OK to take a loss and replace the revenue over a few years.

“I’m not sure if they’re cutting anything,” Jindrich said. “No matter what, it’s going to take us a couple years to replace that money.”

Unless of course a local sales tax is approved.

“If that happened,” Jindrich said, “that would bring in more than enough to close that gap.”

Filed under: County Government, Uncategorized, , ,

One Response

  1. Curt Zingula says:

    The use of a local option sales and service tax (LOSST) to fund the general budget is a door best left unopened. That revenue represents the rural share of any sales tax and is meant to be distributed to the benefit of the rural residents. That’s not just my opinion, but the opinion of the Iowa Legistlature as well!
    It is the wish of Linn County Farm Bureau that the proceeds of this sales tax be used to fund roads and bridges with priority first given to shortfalls caused by flooding. The Farm Bureau does not want the sales tax to be a substitute for revenue already being collected for roads and bridges, but rather an addition to the current property tax levy for those projects.

    Curt Zingula, President
    Linn Co. Farm Bureau

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