A Quiet Stevens County Truth in Taxation Hearing 30 Nov 12

A year after a contentious Truth in Taxation Hearing filled the Stevens County Courthouse Board Room, a lone taxpayer attended the 2012 Hearing. In 2011, Truth in Taxation notices showed low land values, following the end of Homestead Tax Credits.

County Coordinator Brian Giese offered a highlight of the proposed 2013 budget and levy. The budget summary reads: “The budget includes $13,297,198 in total expenditures. This represents a 7.1% increase over the final approved, amended budget for 2012. The budget includes $6,574,460 in revenues, including the anticipated County Program Aid (CPA). This represents a 4.9% increase over the final approved, amended budget for 2012. The anticipated cut in CPA represents 36.7% of the proposed levy increase. Roughly 57% of the proposed levy is allocated to the Revenue Fund, 17% to the Road & Bridge Fund, 16% to the Human Services Fund, and 9% to Debt Service.”

The proposed levy increase, when factoring in loss of County Program Aid and a $314.617 spend down from reserves, is 8.22%.

Although only one private citizen attended the hearing, Stevens County Auditor/Treasurer Neil Weise notes that his office has fielded several calls on Truth in Taxation notices. The majority of the calls, he says, have to do with a 20% average increase on agricultural land and a 22% average increase on tillable land. The increases have shifted the tax burden Weise says to ag producers. Taxes on residential and commercial properties remained relatively the same with some decreases on non-ag properties.