Mower County preliminary levy set at just over $22 million for 2021
Levy amount represents half a percent increase over 2020 final levy.
AUSTIN — With concerns over county costs related to COVID-19 on their minds, the Mower County commissioners voted unanimously to approve a preliminary levy of $22,691,613 for 2021.
The preliminary levy represents a 0.5% increase over the final 2020 levy, said Mower County Administrator Trish Harren.
"The goal is to reduce that half percent even more before the final levy is set in December," she said.
While concern over expenditures is a concern for 2021, the county board expressed concern over its sources of revenue for 2021. Less than half the budget is funded by local tax dollars, just 43%. Another 45% is funded by state or federal dollars, much of that in the form of payments for specific programs or county program aid from the state.
The remainder of county revenue comes from interest on investments, charges for services and local sales tax, Harren said.
Each of those sources of revenue declined in 2020, and with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact the economy in the county, forecasting revenue for 2021 and beyond is difficult, she said.
"The pandemic response, natural disaster response, and other decisions at the state and federal level impact our local levy significantly," Harren said in a press release.
To learn more about the planned 2021 budget and levy, county residents are invited to attend a special budget and levy public meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 beginning in the Mower County Board Room located in the Mower County Government Center at 201 1st St. NE, Austin.