Olmsted County residents will have a chance to address the county’s $269.6 million 2022 spending plan, and related property taxes, Thursday during the annual Truth-in-Taxation hearing.
The special hearing is set for 7 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The hearing will include a presentation of budget details.
Here are a few things to know about the 2022 budget:
1. County’s proposed spending plan increases by $5.6 million.
The 2022 budget is expected to be $269.6 million, up from the nearly $264 million budget approved for this year.
It’s a 2.1% increase in anticipated spending.
2. Local property taxes are the largest single revenue source for the budget.
An anticipated $112.8 million in property taxes account for 41.85% of the county’s anticipated funding, with the remainder coming from intergovernmental revenues, charges for services, transportation taxes, bond proceeds, reserves, interest income, and other sources.
The anticipated tax collection is a 4.9% increase from the $107.5 million collected last year.
3. Homeowners have 64.3% of the county’s market value but pay 55.1 percent of the property tax.
The estimated taxable market value of all property in the county is nearly $21.8 billion, with residential property accounting for approximately $14 billion, followed by commercial property at nearly $3.8 billion, or 17.4%.
However, differing property class rates mean commercial properties pay 30% ($33.8 million) of the property taxes collected.
Homeowners pay a combined $63.2 million, while apartments generate a combined $8.6 million in property taxes and agriculture land generates nearly $8.2 million.
“The backbone of your property taxes is residential,” said Mark Krupski, the county’s director of Property Records and Licensing.
4. HRA levy remains at the maximum rate.
The county’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority levy remains at 0.0185%, which is the maximum allowed by the state.
With increased property values, the unchanged rate will generate an extra $156,686 next year, to provide $3.9 million to be used for county housing programs.
5. Health, housing and human service programs account for the largest portion of the county's budget.
The division that includes a variety of state-mandated support programs, along with public health and housing efforts, is expected to cost the county $108.9 million next year, consuming 40.4% of the county’s budget.
It’s followed by the Physical Development division, which includes public works, parks and environmental services. The division is budgeted at $105.1 million, or 39% of the budget.
While the Health, Housing and Human Services division accounts for 40.75 percent of the tax levy, Physical Development is funded with 19.88 percent of the collected property taxes.
Public safety, which is 16.8 percent of the county’s budget, uses 34.1 percent of the property tax levy.
6. The recommended budget adds the equivalent of 26 people.
With the county’s anticipated staffing increasing from the equivalent of 1,259 employees to 1,284, County Administrator Heidi Welsch said the ratio of staff members to county residents has remained steady in recent years.
“As we add population, it stands to reason that we have to have more FTEs,” she said, referencing the full-time equivalent for staffing
The county has 75 to 80 staff members per 10,000 county residents, which is up from a 21-year low of approximately 70 in 2012, but down from a high of nearly 90 in 2003, according to a chart provided by Welsch.
7. American Rescue Plan funds could reduce next year’s tax levy.
County commissioners were presented with an option to use county reserves or a portion of the county’s $30.7 million in federal COVID relief funds to cover $1.3 million of the county budget, which would reduce the required tax levy increase from 4.9% to 3.62%.
Commissioners split 4-3 in a decision to keep the anticipated levy in place, with the minority proposing to use the one-time federal funds to reduce the taxes this year.
Commissioner Gregg Wright said maintaining course will allow the county to adjust next year, rather than committing federal funding as the county continues to face COVID impacts.
“We’re facing unknowns,” he said, joined by commissioners Stephanie Podulke, Sheila Kiscaden and Mark Thein in holding to the preliminary recommendation heading into Thursday’s hearing.