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OSAGE | Mitchell County's property tax levy rates will remain flat for the fiscal year beginning July 1. 

The Mitchell County Board of Supervisors approved the 2019-20 budget on March 5. 

The rural basic levy will be $3.95 per $1,000 assessed valuation, while the urban levy is $5.59.

Both those rates are the same as the current fiscal year, according to information presented by employees of the county auditor's office during the public hearing preceding the supervisors' vote. 

The 2018 valuation for the county is $683,812,625 with gas and electric and $671,170,969 without gas and electric. This is an increase of $23,888,767 from the 2017 valuation.

Rollbacks for agricultural property increased by nearly 1.7 percent, while rollbacks for residential property went up by almost 1.3 percent.  
 
Debt payments are being made for secondary roads, the pre-treatment facility for the Valent BioSciences plant, and the courthouse.

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Total principal and interest payments are $3,708,459.

Tax increment financing revenue, special assessment and local option sales tax revenue help make these payments.

"I am so thankful we have the local option money," said Barb Baldwin, deputy auditor. "That has helped me tremendously." 

No revenue from property taxes is used to make debt payments, according to the auditor's office. 

Other county debt consists of two TIF rebates for the Osage Co-op Elevator and Absolute Energy. Both are 10-year agreements.

If the county did not have TIF, debt payments would have to be made out of the debt service levy, according to the auditor's office. 

If the debt service levy was used, the total county levy for 2019-20 would be $9.78 instead of $9.54, according to the auditor's office. 

Supervisor Stan Walk said a few county residents are still saying TIF is not being used properly. 

However, TIF will give the county $3 million in revenue during the 2019-20 fiscal year, he said. 

"Why would you not want to utilize that $3 million for the county benefit?" he said. 

Walk also said the Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm and Valent are providing the money for debt payment, not the taxpayers. 

Former county supervisor Betty McCarthy told Walk he has said people will not see debt service on their tax bills, which may be why there's confusion on the issue. 

She said it needs to be made clear that although secondary roads and conservation may need to borrow money, they do it within their own budgets. 

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