It takes a lot of money for a county to operate well. At their most-recent meeting, the St. Louis County Board unanimously approved it's 2021 budget - totaling $420,280,061.  The budget includes line-items specifically tied to county services that have increased due to the COVID-19 Pandemic response.  However, it also includes elements that take into account the current uncertainties that exist as well as the need to reduce the financial impact on taxpayers.

According to information released by St. Louis County, the 2021 budget assessed high-priority to providing support for vulnerable adults and children, and individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders.  At the same time, the budget also reflects sustained investment in economic development and technology.  In addition, the budget for the upcoming year reflects increased investment in roads and bridges and incorporates structural changes to health care and employee contract commitments.

While many of the line-items on the expense side of the 2021 budget have gone up when compared to last year, it appears that the out-of-pocket expense for many homeowners may actually go down:

"Just over a a third of the budget (35%) is funded by the property tax levy. The final levy was approved at $147.7 million, which is a 1.48% increase from this year. Most property owners are expected to see a decrease in the county portion of their property tax statement because the overall property tax base has increased by 4%."

Members of the county board touted the cooperation that went into finalizing the budget as well as the maximized financial value it represents to taxpayers.  Commissioner Keith Nelson (chair of the Finance Committee) said "It took tremendous collaboration and a lot of work to bring forward this budget and levy, which works for our community."  Meanwhile, Board Chair Mike Jugovich offered: "With this budget, we will continue to deliver necessary services to our citizens while also respecting how the cost of these services impact everyone who owns property in St. Louis County."

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St. Louis County serves 200,000 residents while spanning 7,000 square miles.  To get more details about the 2021 budget or to see it for yourself, click here.

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