Philipp von Hanstein

Chairman Philipp von Hanstein reviews newly proposed county budget during Tuesday night’s Morgan County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Morgan County unveiled the 2022 Fiscal Year proposed budget Tuesday night, which calls for a $1.3 million increase from the current fiscal year, coming in at just over $20 million for the general fund. However, county officials are recommending the rollback millage rate be adopted despite the increased budget.

“We have presented a balanced budget as required and we have increased revenues coming in from property taxes,” said County Manager Adam Mestres. “The increased revenue from property taxes is not from a rise in the millage rate, but from a rise in assessment values,” said Mestres.

The proposed budget includes a general fund of a total of $20,647,134. This is a 6.9 percent increase from the 2021 Fiscal Year County Budget.

The county anticipates to collect just over $17 million in property taxes for the Fiscal Year 2022.

“Even with the rollback rate, property values are going up after slowly recovering from recent years of recession,” explained Mestres. “Assessment notices have gone out, and based on assessed home values, which have gone up, and new growth in the county, we will bring in more revenue from property taxes even with adopting the rollback millage rate.”

According to Mestres, one of the largest cost increases for the county in the new budget is the cost of health insurance for county employees, which jumped up a whopping 35 percent from the current fiscal year.

“We had a rough year with COVID and some of our employees getting sick,” said Mestres. “The cost of health insurance has gone up significantly.”

Other cost increases to the county’s budget includes keeping up with the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), giving a 2.3 percent raise to county employees who have been with the county for six years or more this year.

The $1 million dollars the county recently received from the Joint Development Authority, the four-county board tasked with overseeing the development of Stanton Springs Industrial Park, has been set aside to go toward various capital projects.

The county will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on Tuesday, June 1 at 9:30 a.m. on the second floor of the county administration building, located at 150 East Washington Street in Madison. The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) will vote to adopt the proposed budget on Tuesday, June 15 at 5 p.m.

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