Letter to the Editor (Verndale Sun)
To the Editor:
Work on the 2023 budget continues to be one of the main focuses of the budget committee and the entire board.
Some positive things have happened over the last few years. Last year’s increase for 2022 taxes was well under 2% and one of the lowest in the state. The number of county employees is steady or may have decreased in the last three years. Between 2007 and 2018, the number increased by 40. So, current employees are working hard to be efficient while still getting the job done.
Our tax rates have decreased from .88 in 2016 to .78 in 2022. Other taxing districts are also taking a bigger share of your total tax bill than they did in the past.
There are more than 35 separate budgets and funding requests within the county budgets. Despite countywide pay increases and inflation, many came in at a 0% or a low increase.
Though work continues, the current increase looks to be from 2 to 3%, when Social Services is excluded. But when Social Services is included it rises to 7 to 8%. The county board has little if any input on this department’s expenditures or programs.
To get competitive tax rates with other larger counties there are a few things we need to continue to do. Such as looking for ways to combine, reduce or eliminate services and increase efficiencies in all areas (there are many opportunities here). Other ways are increasing the tax base, and lobbying the state to fund all the things they mandate us to do.
District 4 Commissioner