Johnson County Board of Supervisors approve new budget, increase in taxes

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors met Thursday to approve the fiscal 2020-2021 budget, which was released for public comment March 9. The budget will increase taxes, raise recommended elected officials’ bi-weekly salaries, and authorize a dozen loan agreements.


Megan Nagorzanski

Johnson County Board of Supervisors vote on the second reading of the Unified Development Ordinance at the Johnson County Treasurer office on Thursday December 12, 2019.

Riley Davis, News Reporter

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors approved the fiscal 2020-2021 county budget, an increase to elected officials’ biweekly salaries, and the authorization of loan agreements and issue bonds of up to $18.69 million for the county on Thursday. 

The budget estimates that the total taxable value in Johnson County will increase by 5.1 percent — bringing the total amount of collected taxes from $9.25 billion to $9.75 billion. 

In an interview with The Daily Iowan on Feb. 20, Johnson County Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglas compared the tax increase and public’s valuation to a pizza. Because of growth in the area and a better economy, land that was valued like a 12-inch pizza may now be the same worth as a 14-inch pizza.

“So we might still be taking the same slice — our slice might have been 6 percent of that first pizza, and it might still be 6 percent — but [now] the pizza is bigger,” she said. “So our amount, the dollar amount, turns out to be larger. The percentage of the pizza that we’re getting is still the same, just the valuations have changed. So, yes, we’ve increased some, but not very much.”

According to the budget’s highlights, about $24 million will go toward capital projects, equipment and technology; about $8 million to financial support for non-profit partners, agencies, and other government entities; $680,000 to fund affordable housing; $676,700 for the Historic Poor Farm projects and operations; and about $4.2 million to support the new GuideLink Center’s construction and operation. 

The board also approved the Johnson County Compensation Board’s recommendation to increase the biweekly salaries of the county’s attorney, auditor, recorder, treasurer, sheriff, and supervisor by 3.63 percent. 

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The recommendation will increase the county’s attorney bi-weekly salary to $5,996; the auditor, recorder, and treasurer to $4,350; the sheriff to $6,098; and the supervisor to $3,262, according to the Johnson County Compensation Board. 

Twelve loan agreements and bonds were also approved — their collective total not to exceed $18.69 million. The loan agreements and bonds will be used to pay for road improvements, insurance programs, “peace officer” and emergency-services equipment, affordable housing, various building renovation and equipment improvements, and purchasing county vehicles and equipment.

Public hearings were held on March 9 for each approved item, but no one in the public stepped forward for comment once the forums opened.