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Aug 22

Top Things You Should Know About Your County Government’s Financial Health and Why It Matters

Posted on August 22, 2023 at 2:37 PM by Megan Gooden

Have you ever wondered how your county manages your taxes and what it does with them? Financial reports help you learn about your community, but we know they can be tricky and boring. Here are the top things you should know and ways to find out more.

What the Numbers Say for 2021-2022

Demographic Growth: Our population, real estate activity, and income increased while our unemployment rate decreased.

Revenues Increased $46.8 Million (5.5 Percent Increase)

Where Does the Money Come From? County government services are primarily funded by taxes. Property values increased in 2022, and in turn, so did property tax revenues. Property taxes were up $26.4 million, a 9.2 percent increase from the prior year. Tourism tax revenues increased by $6.5 million, or 35 percent, and sales tax revenues increased by $18.7 million, or 17.6 percent.

Net Position Improved by $120. 1 million.

What the County Owns and Owes The net position provides a snapshot of the County’s financial health.

Investment Earnings Generated Earnings of $14.9 Million

Putting Tax Dollars to Work: The County receives the majority of its income in the winter when property taxes are paid. The money is invested until it is needed to pay county expenses. Investing puts the money to work to reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Expenses Increased by $39.9 Million (5.5 Percent Increase)

Where the Money Goes: The largest proportion went to public safety services followed by transportation services and human services care, treatment, and control of illness, injury, and handicap.

Transparency Matters

Transparency is important to us, and we work hard to incorporate transparency into all that we do. We want you to be able to easily see how your tax dollars and county government operations are managed.

 The Clerk’s office produces the financial reports for county operations each year. This report ends up being more than 300 pages. We know you don’t have time to read that, so we produce a condensed report for you with minimal text and a lot of visuals. This report is known as the “Popular Annual Financial Report.” Give it a browse. In it, you’ll find out who the top taxpayers and employers are in Polk County, learn how your taxes are calculated and how rates have changed, or not changed, over the years, and what the County’s strategic goals are for the future.  

 View the Citizens’ Guide to County Finances