Property taxes will go up next year for residents of Rock Island County. Tuesday night, the county board approved a new budget, including an increase of 11.9 per cent in property taxes.
County administrator Jim Snider says that sounds like a lot, but it works out to an increase of 33 dollars per year for the owner of a 100,000 dollar home.
The 80 million dollar budget started with a deficit of 3 1/2 million dollars, but by cutting some open positions, postponing capital projects, and using some reserve funds, he says it's now balanced.
"I think it's always a challenge to raise taxes and to recommend that, but at the same time I think that we have a clear explanation as to why."
The county provides a wide range of services, including law enforcement, health, the jail, and the courts, and Snider says the costs of providing them are all going up.
"The predominant points regarding the increase in the levy has to do with an upgrade to our radio system for our sheriff's dispatch - from UHF to digital. Currently we have areas of dropped calls for our deputies out in the rural areas of the county, and that's a safety issue."
Another problem for the county is un-funded state mandates such as police and fire pensions. And that the state is keeping some of the tax revenue collected by local governments to try and fix its own financial problems.