Proposed 2023-2024 Polk County budget presented to commissioners

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Plan calls for property tax increase, more funds for Polk Schools


COLUMBUS – On Monday, May 8, the Polk County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting to receive the proposed budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. 

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County Manager Marche Pittman submitted the proposed budget, stating that it is balanced in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act.

If approved, the budget will go into effect July 1. The total proposed budget for the county is $41,307,888.

The recommended tax rate is .5343 cents per $100 of property value, which is a 2-cent increase from the current rate. All tax revenue raised by the 2-cent increase is designated to go specifically to Polk County Schools Operations.

The increase was requested by the Polk County School Board, which projects a “significant operating increase” due to state-mandated minimum wage, salary and benefit increases, as well as increases in costs related to child nutrition, transportation and projected growth in enrollment.

Polk County receives funding from several sources, including fees, permits and sales tax. Polk’s largest source of income is property taxes, bringing in 57% of generated revenue.

This fiscal year’s largest expenditures include public safety, the Department of Social Services and transportation-related expenses, with the largest expense being $501,000 for new Sheriff patrol vehicles.  

“I feel comfortable with the flat sales tax allocation projections,” Pittman stated in the budget document. “But we will need to keep in mind that if our projections aren’t sustainable due to a fluctuating economy, we will need to go to fund balance next year and re-evaluate spending as a result in the next fiscal year.”

Due to inflation and the need for employee retention, the budget also recommends a county-wide pay increase of 5% for all county staff, which would go into effect the first full pay period in January.

“This budget will allow us to maintain and improve services for our citizens,” said Pittman. “I appreciate the hard work, effort, and sacrifice that was put into this process by our department heads.”

The Board will hold a budget work session at the Womack Bldg at 40 Courthouse St. on Monday, May 15, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., to discuss possible alterations in the budget. The assembly will be followed by a regularly scheduled meeting at 5:00 p.m.