Buena Vista County's budget for fiscal year 2006 will be $14,214,542, up from the current year budget of $12,371,279, according to the budget approved Thursday by the Board of Supervisors.
There will be a minimal increase in the county's share of tax asking, $78,995 or 1.3% over the current year, according to Auditor Karen Strawn.
Spending includes a number of one-time items such as $550,000 for a gravel crushing project, new voting equipment, and remodeling of the Courthouse ramp to meet ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requirements, for a 15% increase in spending.
The county is proposing to borrow $400,000 for capital project items including the voting equipment and handicap ramp and spread the cost over four years.
A significant factor in the 2006 budget was an $11.1 million increase in property valuation due to the step increase in wind farm valuation. Had the levies been left the same as the current year's, the new valuation would have yielded an additional $48,690.
The urban levy will be $7.06693, up a penny from the current year. The rural levy will be $10.18770, down 13.4 cents from the current year.
Planned is $225,000 for the new voting machines.
They are federal mandate under HAVA legislation to make voting machines accessible to the visually impaired. Also needed are a tractor at $30,000 for county conservation; upgrading the handicap ramp at $52,000, and $35,000 for other Courthouse improvements. The state will compensate the county for $113,000 of the cost of the new voting machines.
County elected officials and their employees receive a 4 percent wage increase in the new budget while appointed department heads and their employees will get a 3 percent raise plus a 1 percent merit increase to be paid at the discretion of the department head and subject to approval of the Board of Supervisors.
The following are among the highlights of this year's county budget:
*The General Basic tax asking is up $44,461 due to the increase in valuation. The levy rate is $3.50, the same as last year. The proposed ending fund balance is 15.3 percent. The General Basic fund is $3,671,597.
*The General Supplemental tax asking is down $126,230, and the levy rate is $1.92, down from $2.14. The proposed ending fund balance is 16 percent, with a total General Supplemental budget of $1,401,622.
*The Mental Health tax asking is up $149,683 for a total budget of $1,569,827. Last year the county levied 57 percent of the maximum mental health levy. This year it is set at 80 percent. The levy rate is 76 cents, up from 55 cents last year. The proposed ending fund balance is 11.4 percent.
*The Rural Services tax asking is down $18,633 for a budget total of $480,790 and the levy rate is $3.12, a decrease of 14 cents. The proposed ending fund balance is 14.9 percent.
*The Debt Service tax asking is up $29,714 for a total of $621,825 with a levy rate increase of $.03.
Just as it is at the city level, the major topic for revenues is the state-mandated tax rollback. The residential rollback for fiscal 2004-5 was 48.4558 while the rollback for 2005-06 is 47.9642. The commercial rollback for 2004-05 was 99.257; there is no commercial rollback in 2005-06.
The biggest change in the rollback will be in rural residential property where properties with $50,000 in 2004-05 taxable valuation will be valued at $49,493. With the reduction in the county's levy rate from $10.32131 to $10.18770, that means a $11.85 difference in taxes.