Linn County, Iowa

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Transparency grading process

Portions of this article were taken from Wikipedia

Linn County is one of 99 counties in Iowa. The population was 211,226 in the 2010 census, an increase from 191,701 in the 2000 census. The county seat is Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Linn county is named in honor of Senator Lewis Linn of Missouri and it is one of the three counties that make up the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Iowa county websites

This website was reviewed on December 20, 2011.

The good

  • Current and archived budget documents are available.[1]
  • Board of Supervisor's meeting agendas and minutes are posted.[2]
  • Supervisors are listed with contact information.[3]
  • Building permits and zoning information is available, with relevant forms also accessible..[4]
  • Financial audits are provided by the Finance Department, and documents produced by the County Auditor are available.[1][5]
  • Some contracts are viewable through the Auditor's department under the county's Documents center.[6]
  • Property tax information is provided.[7]

The bad

Budget

The County's FY 2012 budget was created based on the assumptions of a levy rate of $6.12 per thousand and an ending balance equal to 25% of budgeted expenditures. Initial department requests submitted totaled 98.5% of the FY 2011 budget, leaving $1.8 million for direct allocation by the Board of Supervisors.[8]

FY 2012 expenditures were $129,727,000, an increase of 7.5% over the previous FY. Mental health expenditures made up 30% of the budget, the largest portion. Public safety was the second largest expenditure, making up 18% of the budget.[8] Revenues for FY 2012 were $117,563,000, down 1.5% from FY 2011. Property tax revenue makes up 46.3% of County revenue.[8]

In FY 2012, Linn County became the first Iowa county to implement a "Budgeting for Outcomes" system. According to the County, this system first identifies revenues, and then sets the budget based on those revenues. Performance objectives and indicators are used to focus spending priorities.The system is based on the best practices provided by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting.[9]

Public Employees

Elected Officials

Board of Supervisors

The Board of Supervisors is the executive and legislative branch of the County government. The Board is made up of five members, elected to four year terms. Members are:[10]

Supervisor District
Lu Barron 1
Linda Langston 2
Ben Rogers 3
Brent Oleson 4
John Harris 5

Other elected officials

The County government has five other elected officials. They are:[11]

Position
Attorney
Auditor
Sheriff
Treasurer
Recorder

Administrative Officials

A full list of administrative departments can be found here.

Salaries

See also: Iowa state government salary

County employee salaries are posted online by the Iowa Press Citizen. 2011 salary data can be found here. The data listed ten employees earning over $100,000 in 2011 salary.[12]

Pensions

See also: Iowa public pensions

All county employees are required to participate in the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System. Employees contribute 4.5% of their gross wages, and the County contributes 6.95% of each employee's gross wages. Employees can also participate in a 457 deferred compensation plan.[13]

Emergency personnel

Emergency personnel similarly participate in the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System. Law enforcement employees contribute 8.94% of gross wages, while the County contributes another 8.94%.[13]

Lobbying

See also: Iowa government sector lobbying

In 2008, Linn County reported $50,000 spent on lobbying.[14]

Transparency & public records

Taxes

The FY 2012 budget increased residential property taxes by 4.4%. Commercial businesses taxes were raise 0.9%. This combination increased the levy rate to $6.12 per thousand.[8]

External links

References