ADEL — Spending $49 million of the public’s money is bound to draw attention, even if it means none of the citizenry cared enough to comment.
The Dallas County Supervisors met Tuesday at 7 p.m. in an open hearing on the proposed county budget for Fiscal Year 2018, with not a single member of the county’s population of more than 82,000 in attendance.
Board Chair Kim Chapman guided those in the room in a step-by-step presentation on the process of forming the budget. Most of the information came in the form of comparisons with Dubuque, Pottawattamie, Story and Warren continues, who are closest in population, valuation and demographics to Dallas County.
The countywide levy of $19.90 was approved as part of the budget. Dallas County’s urban levy was set at $3.91 and the rural levy at $7.85 per $1,000 in taxable valuation. The more than $600 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) in Dallas County is considerably higher than the TIF revenues in the other four counties compared.
Expenditures in FY 2018 will total $49,406,427 while total revenues will be about $45,044,303, a shortfall of $4,362,126.
Schools receive 47.7 percent of expenditures, cities 33.8 percent and the county 12.8 percent. Other outlays are given to community colleges (1.9 percent), hospital (1.4), assessors (0.8), townships (0.3), agriculture extension (0.2) and 1 percent to miscellaneous entities.
The county’s two largest budget lines are public safety and legal services, budgeted next year at $12.6 million, and roads and transportation, set at $8.5 million next year.
Other line items include county environment and education ($4.7 million), capital projects (4.1), physical health and social services (3.7), mental health and intellectual disability services (2.7), debt services (2.4), government services to residents (2.3) and administration (1.6), with operating transfers out receiving $6.1 million.
The largest spending increase by percentage is 20.41 percent to county environment and education, with public safety and legal services seeing a rise of 13.88 percent and roads and transportation 13.4 percent.
Future challenges the county expects to encounter were addressed by Chapman. Among those were the law enforcement center, additional space for both the courts and the driver’s license services and the need to remain competitive in the area of employee compensation and benefits. Also mentioned were the need to properly assess changes in technology while recognizing the different needs of the growing population divide between rural and urban residents.
County Operations and Finance Director Rob Tietz spoke briefly, reflecting on Fiscal Year 2018 as his second time preparing a budget for the county. He noted the small differences between the overall budgets for 2017 and 2018, noting the only real changes were organic growth in the county.
Tietz reminded the board that Dallas County is expected to add 4.5 full-time employees in the coming year, but that the additions did not require an increase in the levy.
Both Chapman and Tietz noted that the increase in public safety and legal services was due almost entirely to money going to other counties to house prisoners, as the current jail space is inadequate in meeting county needs.
Because no members of the public were present to comment, the board, without further discussion, approved the budget unanimously.
Also receiving unanimous approval were 4 percent pay increases for elected officials, based upon the recommendation of the Dallas County Compensation Board.
Beginning July 1, the following salaries will take effect:
- Dallas County Auditor Julia Helm, $83,963.65
- Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart, $83,963.65
- Dallas County Treasurer Mitch Hambleton, $83,963.65
- Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard $118,846.45
- Dallas County Attorney Wayne Reisetter $131,668.47
- Dallas County Supervisor Kim Chapman, $55,404.80
- Dallas County Supervisor Mark Hanson, $55,404.80
- Dallas County Supervisor Brad Golightly, $55,404.80