WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Hearing Delayed

Feb 10, 2012

Lee County must wait a little longer to put its proposed budget for next year on display.

The Board of Supervisors was ready to set a public hearing on the roughly $26-million spending for Tuesday, Feb. 21.

That plan changed, though, after the county received an email from the state that said its proposed property tax rate must be changed.

CPC Administrator Ryanne Wood says Lee County brings in tax revenue to help pay for day-to-day services for those with mental health or other developmental disabilities.

She says the state also sends the county money to help pay for the services in an effort to hold down the property tax rate.

Wood says the state informed the county that due to a deficit, the MHDD levy must be increased by about $100,000.

She says not raising the property tax rate to generate that additional money would jeopardize the county’s access to that state funding.

Several years ago, Lee County did not generate enough money, locally, to qualify for several hundred thousand dollars in state money.

That played a factor in the supervisors tabling the setting of the public hearing to allow for the change to be made.

Budget Director Cindy Renstrom says the MHDD tax rate will need to increase by about eight cents to generate the additional money requested by the state.

Lee County was not the only county in Iowa to receive such a notice about its MHDD levy.

Ryanne Wood says this appears to be a one year issue because of a major change coming to the state’s mental health care system.