Proposed 2009 county levy increased 7.8% to $11 million

Sept. 8, 2008

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Meeker County’s proposed 2009 levy will be $11,141,722, a 7.8 percent increase from the 2008 levy.

The Meeker County Board of Commissioners will have another week to make changes. After Monday, Sept. 15, the board will only be allowed to lower the levy and 2009 budget total, if it needs to make changes, before the levy becomes official in December.

County Administrator Paul Virnig went through the levy and budget proposal Tuesday with the county board. The 2009 budget includes several new expenditures for which the county will be reimbursed from other sources, he pointed out.

The Bear Lake Road, or Meeker County State Aid Highway 15, paving project, for example, will be funded with $660,000 from the federal government in 2009. Approximately $65,000 will be reimbursed for providing a deputy to the Regional Gang Task Force, Virnig said.

About $220,000 in social services and public health costs are reimbursed from Prime West, a consortium of 13 counties, for case management services for medical assistance clients.

Personnel costs continue to have the largest impact on the county’s 2009 budget of $25,800,000, an increase of 11.6 percent, Virnig said. Annual salary and health insurance adjustments are about $410,000. The amount for adding new employees is about $300,000. Total new personnel costs for 2009 are $930,000, he said.

“Another significant impact on the budget is the approximately $175,000 increase in energy costs for heating and cooling buildings, gas for squad cars, diesel fuel for highway department equipment, and mileage reimbursement,” Virnig said.

There is good news, though. The county’s net tax capacity increased approximately 10 percent since 2007, so the tax burden will be spread out over more properties, Virnig said.

Odds and ends

In other business, the county board:

• permitted Diane Winter, public health director, to advertise for a full-time registered nurse/public health nurse case manager. Prime West, a consortium of 13 counties organizing health care for medical assistance clients, will pay 90 percent of the cost of the new employee.

• granted a conditional use permit for David Hunt to move a trailer on to vacant land northeast of Kingston, where he will start to build a new home in the spring.

• approved a liquor license for Mannah Hilltop Tavern in Grove City, and a resolution allowing it to change its gambling permit to the American Legion Post 96 of Hutchinson.

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