County’s budget tightens amid property tax reform

The reality of the state’s commercial property tax reform package is surfacing for the Marshall County Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors discussed the issue of less taxes coming in prior to approving the taxable valuation figures for utilities in the county during a meeting Tuesday.

A rollback in the amount the county can tax means the annual taxable valuation for all utilities (telephone, electric railroad, other communications companies) is dipping from $123 million to $121.6 million.

It is the hope of county officials that the state will backfill funds to offset the loss in property tax revenue. Supervisor Chair Dave Thompson said the county is already tightening budgets and he is telling department heads and elected officials that there will be no additional spending over last year’s budget.

“We’re just going to be very prudent in our financial decisions,” Thompson said.

Supervisor Denny Grabenbauer said they are making plans to work with less money due to this reform, which was instituted by state legislators as a way to attract business to the state by offering lower property taxes.

“This is what we are starting to see that we are having less taxable money to work with,” Grabenbauer said.

County Auditor Dawn Williams said they will have to be cautious budget-wise and the amount the county gets back from the state as a backfill is still uncertain.

In other action, the board approved the vacation of an alley in LaMoille. The board conveyed the title of the alley to Ed Reese and Wayne and Linda Tempel.

“I don’t believe the county has any concerns on vacating this alley,” Thompson said.

The board will next meet at 9 a.m. Thursday at the courthouse, when they plan to elect their chair for the next year.