I was very pleased to see that the Scott County Board of Commissioners has continued to do what is right as opposed to what is politically expedient in the handling of the county’s fiscal stability. The board approved a 3.95% levy increase that will accomplish a variety of good things; but, most important among them are two specific items. It will result in a continued decrease in the county’s tax rate and that is good news for everyone. And, it maintains the county’s financial position by funding capital improvements, maintaining the county’s fund balance, and continuing the county on a path to being debt free.
I was not surprised; but, somewhat disappointed to see Commissioner Dave Beer vote against the levy; but, for the budget. Dave has consistently voted against the funding for that work. I believe he is sincere in his support of the county’s work and his desire to aid in meaningful transformation in the lives and legacy of people and families. However, his desire to limit levy increases and base them on growth in the county alone is misguided. Refusing to accommodate for inflation — in addition to growth — would slowly erode the county’s fiscal position. And, over time would do more harm than good to the county’s taxpayers.
Scott County has one of the lowest tax rates of any county in the state of Minnesota — and the third lowest rate in the seven-county metro area. Of our neighboring counties Carver, Sibley, LeSueur, and Rice all have higher tax rates than Scott County does. The county board has done an exceptional job of consistently lowering the tax rate. And, the result is that those paying taxes within the county have seen their taxes (in relationship to value) consistently decline. While the value of my home is almost unchanged between 2016 and 2020 (there is only a $400 difference); my proposed 2020 taxes to Scott County will be nearly 10% lower than they were five years prior.
As a governing body the Scott County Board of Commissioners has done an excellent job of staying future focused while protecting the taxpayers of this county. I want to thank the board for their continued commitment to fiscal restraint and stability.