OTTUMWA — Wapello County supervisors have long sparred with the state over mental health services. Now they say state requirements prevented a tax decrease.
“A couple things that are significant about this is like the rural levy — it went down,” Supervisor Jerry Parker said. “Our full levy, it went up. It would have not went up any if it wasn’t for mental health. The only reason it went up is about $750,000 that were required to levy to pay for mandated mental health services.
“We actually would have had a tax reduction if it wasn’t for mental health,” Parker added.
Supervisor Brian Morgan agreed.
“We wanna make the point is that if the state would have left mental health alone, taxes would have went down,” Morgan said, “over and over.”
“Basically we wouldn’t have had hardly any tax increase at all except what is mandated for mental health,” Parker explained.
The discussion came in the context of the county’s preparations for passing the fiscal 2021 budget. As part of that process, the supervisors also passed a resolution stating property tax revenues are capped at about $7.6 million for general county services and $1.5 million for rural county services.
The resolution is similar to one passed last week by the Ottumwa City Council as part of its budgeting process.
Other business to come before the board was canceling outstanding checks more than a year old.
Supervisors also decided to appoint Colin Johnson to the Wapello County Board of Adjustments with his term beginning March 1. Parker said this will make the board full as it will include five members, which is the amount supervisors were hoping for.
In addition, Delia Cruz Ramirez was appointed to work as a full-time clerk in the auditor’s department.