FY 2015 Budget Information
After due consideration and thought, I believe a response needs to occur from statements mad on a radio talk show last Friday morning.
First, there was the statement made that revenues such as, federal prisoner care is not budgeted, but goes into cash reserves. For the past 13 fiscal years, Woodbury County has budgeted all revenues that are known by department/division to offset tax askings. Revenues are reflected in our proposed budget workbook from which the Board of Supervisors work with. It is concerning that some individuals are unaware that this documentation has existed for 13 fiscal years in our budget work book.
The next statement made by the sheriff that Black Hawk County budgets $5,000,000 more than Woodbury County for the entire Sheriff’s budget in Fiscal Year 2014. Actually the Black Hawk sheriff budget was $2,972,649 higher than Woodbury County sheriff ‘s budget. The communications budget was removed from the Black Hawk budget to make a fair comparison with the Woodbury County budget. With all due respect, a more in depth look has to be taken.
First, Woodbury County ranks 6th in population (estimated 2012 census). On a per capita (per person) basis, the current fiscal year sheriff’s budget ranks 4th in the state of $99.43 per capita.
Second, when taking total taxable valuations into consideration, Woodbury County ranks 10th. Black Hawk County’s tax base exceeds Woodbury County’s tax base by $1,594,354,898. So, when you take the $3.50 tax rate cap times the differential in tax base, Black Hawk does generate $5,580,242 in additional taxes in the General Basic fund. This is why Black Hawk can budget almost $,3,000,000 more in the sheriffs department.
Last, in review the top 13 counties by population, all of the counties except one is staying within the $3.50 cap set by the Code of Iowa. The exception being Dallas County at $3.16 per thousand which is lower than the $3.50 cap.
So in conclusion, the county is transparent in showing budgeted revenues by department/division. The Board of Supervisors provide the Sheriff a budget within the County’s ability to raise taxes in the General Basic Fund.
Also what really stands out is that Woodbury County is tax base poor as we rank 10th in the state while the county ranks 6th in population. The Board of Supervisors and all the city councils are diligently working to attract new businesses to the county and their respective cities. Evidence of these efforts are CF Industries choosing to do a major expansion in the county and Sabre Industries also doing a major expansion along with many other businesses expansions. Tax base growth happens over years, not over night.
The last 14 years, Woodbury County has received the Certificate of Achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association. In order to receive the Certificate of Achievement, the government must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized Certified Annual Financial Report. This report has satisfied both the U.S.GAAP and applicable legal requirements. The report has received an unqualified opinion and now an unmodified opinion. An unqualified or “clean” opinion is issued when the auditor can state, without reservation, that the financial statements are fairly presented in conformity with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).