Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Washington County supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the local government budget for fiscal year 2023.
“The important part, I think, is the property tax asking,” County Budget Director Cyndie Sinn said. “I think our budget was pretty conservative, we did see some overall increases in costs for fuel, paper, utility services … (and) pay rates, but overall, the property tax asking is 7.08% of an increase, which is pretty much in line with what the cost of living is.”
Supervisor Stan Stoops said that was a win in his book.
“This board has had to make some hard decisions since the first of the year,” he said. “I’m just grateful to see that total property tax asking is 7.08%.”
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said he was also pleased with the final product.
“We try to do the best we can to provide the services that people in Washington County need, and that’s a balancing act sometimes,” he said. “I would say that everything we’ve put into our budget and all the work that we’ve done is a tribute to all of the elected officials and department heads in the county being responsible.”
While the budget itself was passed unanimously, compensation for elected officials was a separate — and more controversial — action item, passing in a 3-1 vote with Vice Chair Bob Yoder opposed and Board Chair Richard Young absent.
Yoder said he regretted his affirmative vote to raise compensation for supervisors by 20% (to $47,116 per year) earlier in the budget planning process, a vote that was unanimous at the time, backed by the county’s compensation board.
“We’ve been backsliding compared to other counties in the last 10-13 years,” Compensation Board Chair Chris Harmsen said in December. “The whole ‘Back the Blue’ law … gave some very specific direction from Des Moines and kind of gave us traction that we’ve been trying for, the last few years … We felt that the other elected positions, it made sense for them also to be around the 80% area of what Johnson County is paying.”
Yoder said constituents disagreed, however.
“If I had to do it over again, I never would’ve voted for that much in one year,” Yoder said. “I took a lot of grief about it, it was so much so fast, that was the problem.”