Tax rate to increase 6 cents per $1,000
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Oneida County’s property tax rate is going up by 6 cents per $1,000 of equalized property value under the 2017 budget approved Tuesday by the Oneida County Board.
County finance director Margie Sorenson went over the budget summary with supervisors before the 19 of the 21 in attendance all approved the budget resolution as presented with $16,221,217 to be levied on taxable property in the county for county operations, an increase in the levy of $464,982 or 3 percent.
Sorenson said $1,425,322 being levied for ambulance service in the county, which is being expanded in the Super Camp-Three Lakes area, is excluded from the county levy limits. Of the 3 percent increase in the property tax levy, she noted 1.88 percent, or $295,989, is due to the expanded ambulance service.
“The other 1.12 (percent) is non-ambulance levy increase,” she said.
Along with $51,106,037 budgeted for gross expenditures next year, Sorenson said the county expects to receive $30,634,820 in total revenues, not counting the general property tax levy of $16,221,217 and the projected county sales tax revenue of $4.25 million.
Based on the county’s equalized value increasing by more than $19.4 million to exceed $6.724 billion, Sorenson said the county tax rate for the 2017 budget will be $2.41 per $1,000, an increase of 6 cents per $1,000 or 2.6 percent.
“Anyone with a $100,000 home is paying $241 in county property tax,” she said. “I’m not sure where we are this year, but last year we were the fourth-lowest tax rate (for a county) in the state.”
Sorenson noted the budget the county’s Administration Committee approved for consideration by the full board reached the levy limits at $16,221,217.
Among the changes affecting the county’s gross tax levy, Sorenson pointed out the two highest for salaries and fringe benefits included $100,000 to pay for a 1 percent wage increase for non-union employees and $259,000 to pay for an increase in health insurance for next year.
She said the increases in prisoner expenses and revenues were both budgeted at $348,302 to offset each other, though the county’s contract to house up to 100 state inmates in the jail is expected to generate more revenue than that.
“It is estimated (prisoner revenues) will be higher than that, but (prisoner expenses were increased in the budget) by only the amount of directly related expenses,” she said. “In doing that, if we earn more, that will roll to the general fund and help with our capital improvement program.”
Sorenson reported that the county’s general fund is estimated to be more than $17 million at the end of this year, of which about $11.94 million is undesignated. She noted the undesignated general fund as a percentage of total general, special revenue and debt service expenditures is 29 percent, which is above the minimum amount of 10-20 percent for the county to be considered in “good financial condition.”