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County Levies

Posted on 30th November 2011 at 08:46

The Cowlitz County Commissioners are taking action on the 2012 Current Expense and Road Fund levies, action that also includes a one-year refund levy to replace revenue lost in the St. John Medical Center property tax reassessment. Commission Chair George Raiter says that the county government continues to be bogged down by reductions in revenue. In yesterday’s report, Finance Director Claire Hauge recommended that the county take the full one percent increase allowed by law for both the Current Expense Fund and the Road Fund. In addition, the Current Expense Fund includes the collection of just less than $250,000 for the refund levy. To balance the 2012 budget, Hauge is also recommending that the Road Fund levy be reduced by $958,000, with that capacity then shifted to the Current Expense Fund. Imposing the refund levy will cost property owners in the county just less than three cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The owner of a $150,000 home will pay a little over $4 extra because of that refund levy. For the third year in a row, the county’s total assessed valuation dropped, going down by more than $103 million. By law, the setting of the levies has to be complete by today; Hauge says that there’s still a LOT of work to do before they’re ready to adopt a 2012 budget next month, as they’re still more than $4 million away from arriving at a balanced budget. County officials say additional cuts will be necessary to get that budget balanced.