During a work session on the fiscal year 2019 Scott County budget, Director of Budget and Administrative Services David Farmer said the 5.7 percent growth in property values ranked sixth out of seven other metropolitan counties in the state.

“We grew but we didn’t grow as much as our neighbors,” Farmer said.

Johnson County topped the list with 10 percent growth, followed by Polk, Woodbury, Dubuque, and Story counties.

County Administrator Mahesh Sharma said the county “enjoyed residential growth in Eldridge and Bettendorf and commercial development in Davenport. I see this as one of the best years we’ve had."

The overall 3 percent growth will increase property tax revenue, the county’s largest source of income to fund operations.

Farmer reported that other sources of revenue, such as state and federal grants, road use and gas tax, local option sales tax, and gaming revenue, are ever changing. During fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30, 2017, the county collected $49.5 million in property and utility taxes and ranked 95 out of 100 Iowa counties in per capita spending, or $287 for every county resident.

Changes to the Mental Health Fund would increase the gross tax levy by $804,020 to fund a $4.1 million budget. Mental Health Regional CEO Lori Elam said crisis services in development for the five county region she oversees, that includes Scott, Muscatine, Clinton, Jackson and Cedar counties, will increase the budget by an estimated $725,000. Elam said Vera French Community Mental Health Center’s closing of Pine Knoll with 55 beds and the construction and opening of two new residential care facilities with 15 beds each allowed Vera French to qualify for Medicaid billing.

“The amount of funding from Scott County reduced significantly,” Elam told supervisors. “The region spent $3 million dollars in crisis services over three years. The rates go down as patients are stabilized.” Elam said the savings expanded community-based services that will help clients stay at home, find and keep jobs, and stay out of hospitals and jail. “Our budget impacts the sheriff’s budget,” Elam said.

Capital projects will be the topic of the next budget work session scheduled for 8 a.m. Feb. 13.

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