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County Budget Hearing and Board Meeting December 2

Posted: 12/03/2021

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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The Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved the 2022 levy and budget at its annual meeting Thursday, December 2.

The levy was set at $30,437,739.00. That is a 4.4% increase over 2021. The breakdown of the levy is:

  • General government $18,520,226.00
  • Public Works $4,180,784.00
  • Social Services $4,005,955.00
  • Library $1,146,707.00
  • Capital Projects $235,204.00
  • Bonds and Interest $2,348,863.00

The commissioners also approved the budgets for the county’s elected offices which are: Auditor/Treasurer, County Attorney, Recorder and Sheriff.

Before the commissioners approved the levy and budgets, they heard from Auditor/Treasurer Vicki Doehling and Finance Director Jill Frisell during the annual budget hearing which includes an opportunity for questions about the process from the public.

Doehling explained the sequence of mailing property tax statements and valuation notices. They are sent on or before March 31. Parcel-specific Truth in Taxation Notices are sent in mid-November. These notify taxpayers of the budget hearings held by the county, school district and city or township that affect their property.

She also shared 13 reasons why a property owners’ taxes might go up or down.

Among them are market value, city or township levy, school district levy, special assessments, referendums, or state of Minnesota general property tax changes. The county is only one part of the payment.

Frisell explained how the budget process works and how the county constantly balances demands for services with the need to be fiscally responsible. She also explained from where the county takes in revenue:

  • Property Taxes – 51%
  • State Grants, Aid, and Reimbursement of Services - 25%
  • Federal Grants and Reimbursement of Services - 7%
  • Charges and Fees - 7%
  • Transportation Sales Tax - 6%

Frisell then explained how the funds will be spent:

  • Highways and Streets 25%
  • Public Safety 20%
  • General Government 22%
  • Health and Human Services 19%
  • Culture and Recreation 7%
  • Debt Service 4%
  • Conservation of Natural Resources 2%
  • Other 1%

Prior to the budget hearing, Commissioners held a board meeting.

Laurie Bonds, Community Human Services Director, was the first to appear before the board. She thanked board members for the employee luncheon recently held. Board members paid for the lunch and served it at multiple county locations over three days.

Bonds asked for a series of contracts to be approved which the board agreed to.

Auditor Treasurer Vicki Doehling was next. She asked for two gambling permits to be approved. One for a new fishing tournament called the Beaver Classic which will be held on Lake Darling January 15, 2022, followed by a banquet at Arrowwood Resort.  The other for Douglas County Pheasants Forever which plans to hold a raffle at Arrowwood Resort on February 26, 2022.

Commissioners also approved abating a tax penalty of $3,245.08 for Rob Thompson of Good Neighbors-The Rune, LLC. He said the project financing for The Rune project was delayed due to COVID-19 and MPCA’s delay in responding to a request to close monitoring wells on the building site.

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 21.

 

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