County commissioners sets preliminary tax levy increase of 7.8%

Published 8:27 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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In early discussions Tuesday during an afternoon work session of the Mower County Board of Commissioners, commissioners agreed to a preliminary tax levy increase of just under 8% for 2024.

The 7.8% established Tuesday is down several percentage points from an original mark of 15% and more recently 13.09%.

Far higher than last year’s 1.9% increase, though, County Administrator Trish Harren explained the county is looking at multiple different reasons lending to the higher increase. Among those challenges are wage increases and inflation.

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Also complicating the mix is a shortage of correctional officer positions that require mandatory overtime. It’s something the county is currently looking to strategize in order to alleviate the issue for the future. 

There is also an anticipated 20% increase, driven by high usage, of health insurance, and

American Rescue Plan Act dollars, which helped drive down the levy increase last year, are nearing their end and won’t have the impact this year as they’ve had previously. 

These were just some of the challenges commissioners are looking at when setting this year’s taxi levy, however, the county has also already secured multiple grants.

Down the road it’s anticipated that there will be a wind power revenue increase in the next couple years as well as two solar facilities that will be going online in the near future.

While those things won’t help this year, it’s thought to have impacts on future tax levies that will hopefully buy that percentage down.

Money through the County Program Aid has also been increased by over $700,000 along with some one-time public safety aid to the tune of $663,309 coming to the county.

While the preliminary tax levy is higher than previous year, Harren said she is hopeful to get that mark lower still.

“I would really like us to get to 6.9%,” she said.