After Fiscal Year 2021 ended, Des Moines County’s Board of Directors spent much of its Tuesday meeting worrying about the little things that needed to be sorted out before a new fiscal year started today.
Part of those year-end commitments is to approve the county’s two loans that it takes out each year.
“We borrow the money when we need it and pay it back in a week or two,” said CEO Tom Broeker.
One of these loans is for the county’s general expenses. The county is doing its best to cover all possible expenses by taking out a loan instead of paying it solely out of property tax.
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The district’s property tax base is influenced by tax hike funding districts, which allow cities to take property tax money that would otherwise have flowed to the district and these dollars must be used for urban renewal. This is done by limiting the value of the projects in relation to normal property tax amounts. From there, all property tax money generated by a revaluation flows into a special account designated by the city.
As a result, the county has to set its property taxes higher as it does not receive taxes on the full value of the properties in its area. Instead, it only receives taxes on the property’s non-TIF value.
However, the county can easily get around this by paying the expenses through its debt service levy. Taxes paid through the debt service levy are not subject to the same rules as TIF as other levies paid by property owners. Therefore, the county can tax the full value of the property under its domain, which will charge a lower rate than it would have paid for the General Service Tax item.
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Des Moines County spent $ 200,000 on youth housing in 2019
Des Moines County Sheriff Kevin Glendening told wardens about a new law designed to keep juvenile offenders away from incarcerated adults by banning juveniles into adult detention centers.
Glendening previously said the law allowed juveniles to be placed in county jails as long as they were out of sight and hearing of adult offenders. However, with the passage of Senate Act 357, juveniles can only be placed in an adult prison with the consent of a judge, and that placement must be reassessed every 30 days.
Supervisor Jim Cary also complained about the cost of housing the youths separately. Des Moines County pays about $ 50 a day for every inmate housed outside the prison. If the prison had the full capacity of 80 inmates, including 12 inmates in 24-hour accommodations, the county would spend about $ 87 per inmate per night. However, if the calculation was done with the prison population of 68 regular inmates, the county spends about $ 102 per inmate.
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Juvenile offenders cost the county $ 160 a night. These juvenile offenders must be placed in a special detention facility, which also includes a school for juveniles. Cary said the number of youth housed outside the county fell sharply in 2020, but that is due to COVID-19.
In FY20, the county spent $ 190,000 on youth housing. In FY21, the county only spent $ 105,000 on youth housing. In June, the county spent $ 4,000 on three teenage stays worth less than 30 nights.
Glendening said there was a group of young people whom he described as “very violent youth” who should not be released from juvenile detention.
“Sometimes there is a group of badly influenced offenders and they tend to get in waves,” Glendening said.
Supervisor Shane McCampbell said it was cheaper to employ these teens than to keep them incarcerated.