New Pike County Property Tax Revenue to Cover Insurance Expenses | Local News
PITTSFIELD – Pike County is forecasting a $ 400,000 increase in property tax revenue for fiscal 2022 due to its population falling below a threshold that determines the tax rate it can set.
With the additional income, the county plans to cover reinsurance premiums out of its general fund. In the past, these expenses were paid for by the county’s liability insurance fund, a spending decision that sparked debate among county board members.
Pike County Board Chairman Jim Sheppard said based on 2020 census data, the county’s population has fallen to around 14,700.
Because the county’s population has fallen below 15,000, it is eligible for a tax rate of 0.37% instead of 0.27%.
In fiscal 2020, property tax revenue was approximately $ 750,000. However, Pike County’s interim budget for fiscal 2022, taking into account the new tax rate, estimates more than $ 1.1 million in property tax revenue.
In addition to the new tax rate, Sheppard said the AVE has increased by about 10% in the county.
“Taxpayers won’t feel the pinch,” Sheppard said.
With the additional income from the general fund, the county tentatively plans to transfer approximately $ 300,000 of reinsurance expenses from the county liability fund, which covers liability expenses incurred by a public entity.
Pike County Board member Derek Ross was one of the board members to question whether reinsurance premiums were a qualifying tort fund expenditure under the law of the State.
“The purpose of the tort fund was to allow governments to raise taxes to pay for a potential tort issue such as workers’ compensation,” Ross said.
In 2017, the Council of the United Counties of Illinois issued an informal legal opinion that reinsurance costs are not eligible tort fund expenses under state law.
In February 2018, Pike County Council denied a motion to seek a formal ruling from the Illinois attorney general’s office regarding the allocation of reinsurance expenses from the county liability fund.
In fiscal 2021, Pike County allocated $ 560,700 from its liability insurance fund to reinsurance. However, the FY2022 budget proposal only foresees about $ 252,000 in reinsurance costs from the liability fund.
Sheppard said property tax revenues were not the only source of revenue to have seen growth this year. The county has also seen an increase in sales and tax revenue.
“It’s been a really strong year for us,” Sheppard said.
The new income is also helping the general fund reserve balance to rebound after suffering large losses over the past two years.
At the end of fiscal 2020, the Pike County general fund balance was approximately $ 485,000, down from approximately $ 782,000 at the end of fiscal 2019 and just over $ 1 million at the end of fiscal 2018.
Sheppard had attributed the losses to recent increases in operational spending related to the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.
However, the FY2022 budget estimate estimates a fund balance of over $ 1 million by the end of FY2021 and a balance of about $ 1.1 million by the end of FY2021. end of fiscal year 2022.
Pike County Council is expected to vote on a finalized budget at its November 22 meeting.