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TAXPAYERS RESEARCH COUNCIL Y OUR T AX A DVOCATE S INCE 1937
N EWS AND N OTES
March 1, 2012
W OODBURY C OUNTY : W ORK F LOW I SSUES
This past Tuesday, the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors approved hiring a consultant to provide a work flow analysis as to how property tax records are handled within the county. As property ownership changes, various departments must record the information and update their internal records. When a deadline approaches some departments have had to use overtime to ensure all of the paperwork is completed. The offices that have their hand in this process include: Auditor/Recorders Office; County Assessor’s Office; Sioux City Assessor’s Office; Information Technology Office; and Treasurer’s Office. The consultant will be paid $5,233 for a day and a half of work to complete their analysis of the document work flow. The Auditors/ Recorder’s Office will pay for half of the cost and the Sioux City Assessor’s Office and County Assessor’s Office will pay the other half of the cost. The analysis will produce suggestions that include possible automation of information, sequencing of information, document tracking, “turn around” time frames, best use of communication, quality checks, accountability of records work flow and filing for fast retrieval. When asked how long there has been a problem with the work flow of documents, the response was the problem has been occurring for eight years. With the wealth of institutional knowledge our elected officials and department heads have obtained over their careers in local government, the minimum expectation from the taxpayer would have been to solve this problem sooner and without the needed costs of a consultant. Each department head and elected official has the right to run their office as they deem appropriate. However, when a problem arises which crosses jurisdictional office lines, leadership and fellowship from the parties involved should be expected and appears to be absent. Another looming issue is there is no guarantee everyone will follow the consultant’s recommendations. This may only result in having continuing problems and an eventual dusty $5,233 report on the shelves of the courthouse.
F ISCAL Y EAR 2013 S CHOOL B UDGET
This week the Sioux City Community School District Administration presented the general fund budget to the school board and the public. Details of the general fund can be found on the school district website’s main page. The biggest question mark in this year’s budget is the current contract negotiations between the district’s employee groups. When these contracts have been settled, a clearer picture of the districts expenses will be known. There are four budget scenarios. The scenario with the fewest cuts will keep the tax levy the same. This increases the district’s overall expenditures, while increasing residential property taxes and holds commercial property taxes flat. The scenario with the most cuts will create the lowest tax levy since 2004. This results in a slight increase in expenditures and a slight increase to residential property taxes, while lowering commercial property taxes. The other two budget options present cuts found between the two previous proposals. The administration will also present their proposals of the other fund expenditures in an upcoming school board meeting. The Taxpayers Research Council is currently reviewing the general fund budget scenarios and encourages the community to review the administration’s plans and contact the school board with your opinion as the budget is discussed.
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