Residential property tax hike included in 2015 budget passed by - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Residential property tax hike included in 2015 budget passed by Woodbury County supervisors

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

After scrutinizing the budget line by line for weeks, on Tuesday, Woodbury County supervisors finalized how they'll spend $51-million.

Chairman George Boykin said he's comfortable with where they stand.

"We have a very intelligent electorate in Woodbury County. I never underestimate our folks, they understand what we're trying to do and the difficulties that we run in to in trying to provide services to the people," Boykin said.

The difficulties come at a cost to the taxpayer. Residents will face an increase of about 37-cents per thousand dollars of property tax valuation.That means if you own a $100,000 dollar house, taxes will go up about $37 for the year. County officials said this raise is due to several factors, including a new budget item of courthouse security, and decreasing insurance funds.

"The insurance fund should probably be a million and a half, but because of the lawsuits and settlements that we've had against the county. It has diminished it to that point. I'm not sure that we're going to even have enough money to get through this fiscal year on that particular department," Boykin said.

Despite the list of reasons Boykin said there are to increase taxes, supervisor David Tripp voted against adopting the final budget.

"I'm disappointed every year when there's a tax increase," Tripp said.

He said they need to look at more places they can cut.

"There are things we have to start looking at, that are non-mandated programs, and cutting these programs. Unfortunately, when money runs out from federal governments to state governments, the counties have to gobble up that price, and I won't do that," Tripp said.

James Van Bruggen with the Taxpayers Research Council went before the board suggesting they start using data to make sure they're spending the taxpayers' dollars in the best way possible.

"They don't have goals and they don't have performance measures. So, how do you know that the tax dollars we're spending are actually being used for the right purposes," Van Bruggen said.

One area where Tripp and Van Bruggen agree is to look further into how they're funding the county's juvenile detention facility.

"I do believe, that's going to be our biggest hurdle this year, is to figure out what we can do to make juvenile detention be a, not to say profitable, but not spending a ton of money, when our budgets are so tight," Tripp said.

Along with taking a harder look at the cost of running the juvenile detention center, Tripp said they also need to work on bringing in more jobs to help offset costs for the county.

County officials said the budget will take effect starting July 1.

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