“The top thing people can take away is that Ottawa County is in really great shape,” he said, noting that the county weathered the Great Recession well and its economic picture is starting to brighten up.
According to Vanderberg, the county has and will continue to focus on four goals: maintain and improve its financial position, enhance communication with residents and stakeholders, contribute to a healthy environment, and improve the county’s organization and services.
“We look forward to working with the Board of Commissioners on the many challenges that 2013 will bring and also on the initiatives that will help shape the future of the county,” Vanderberg said.
Financially, Vanderberg reported that property tax values are expected to show an increase by year-end for the first time since 2009.
The total residential property value comprises 70 percent of the county's tax base. There was a 57 percent increase in single-family home construction last year. This was in addition to increases in multi‐family residences, commercial and industrial construction.
In the future, the elimination of the industrial personal property tax will likely reduce the industrial property tax revenue stream by 15‐20 percent.
“The county is involved with evaluating the estimated 15 bills that will be introduced in March to ‘fix’ this legislation, which was adopted in lame-duck session late last year,” Vanderberg said.
Vanderberg also noted that the county continues to have a top credit rating with FitchRatings and Moody’s Ratings, and they will pursue the top rating of Standard & Poor’s.
“The aftermath of the Great Recession has only highlighted the outstanding county that we have the honor to serve and the responsibility to improve for future generations of county leaders, just as past generations of county leaders have for us,” he said.
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