The Winona County Board adopted a zero percent preliminary property tax levy increase for the 2014 budget, although spending is expected to increase by nearly $500,000 next year.
Commissioners discussed the preliminary 2014 budget during the regular board meeting Tuesday, learning that a $480,000 increase in county program aid (CPA) from the state will not lower property taxes in 2014.
zero percent preliminary property tax levy inczero percent preliminary property tax levy incCounty Admzero percent preliminary zero percent preliminary property tax levy incliminary property tax levy incinistrator Duane Hebert told the board that he anticipated an approximately $175,000 budget shortfall in 2014, and the board decided to keep the levy flat by using capital improvement program money, which will be replaced with anticipated revenue from a new electronic data management system that will be shared with neighboring counties. Neighboring counties will pay for the use of the system. Hebert explained that part of the shortfall was due to the upfront cost of the new electronic system, which is expected to pay for itself soon and begin to produce a profit.
Commissioner Marcia Ward expressed concern that the county was spending all of the additional CPA money from the state, funding that she said was highly volatile and subject to the whims of state legislators. Hebert explained that while the CPA funding was increasing for 2014, it did not reflect the actual costs of the state programs that the county administers. Over time, state leaders have routinely cut back the reimbursement funds given to counties that run mandated state programs, he explained.