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County dips into reserves to balance budget


Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Fillmore County’s proposed 2003 budget tipped the scales at $20,849,241. That was $275,566 over projected revenues, which forced the County Board to dip into its reserves to balance the budget..

"We’re going to have to do some cutting," said Chairman Duane Bakke as County Coordinator Karen Brown presented the 2003 budget packet. Having to tap into reserves before the year has started is not a situation any commissioner wants to be in.

"In the last five years, from 1999 to 2003, the property tax levy has increased 27% in Fillmore County," stated Brown in a letter to the board. "This averages 5.4% per year and is the result of several increased expenditures combined with decreased state and federal aid." Increased costs include annual double digit increases in employee health insurance, salary cost of living adjustments, rising costs of public safety due to legislative changes, increased crime, and high costs for out of home placement were the main reasons given for the budget problem. Decreased funds from Social Services, Public Health, Medicare reimbursements, and shrinking dollars for road projects have compounded the situation.

The recommendation of the state auditor is that county’s keep approximately 35% of their budget in reserves. That’s $7,000,000 in Fillmore’s case. If "business as usual" came to an abrupt halt, the county would have this to work with temporarily. The bad news is that other items requested by departments would have to be cut from the budget, at least for a while.

Commissioner Helen Bicknese credited Brown and her department for their excellent effort in putting the budget packet together. The other commissioners quickly agreed on the quality report. The budget was approved as presented.

Copies of the 2003 county budget packet are available to the public.

County Salaries

A 2.5% cost of living raise was approved for non-union employees. The board unanimously agreed on $58,950 for the Auditor/Treasurer (basically what he gets now) and $43,860 for the County Recorder (up by $1,2850). These salaries compared with those in nine surrounding counties.

A motion by Bicknese to set the Sheriff’s salary at $65,000 was defeated. A second motion passed at a salary level of $64,500 (an increase of $2,000), with Bicknese and Root voting no.

A prop .....
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Lanesboro Council: Water park given go ahead

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Raindrops? In December? The Lanesboro City Council turned its attention to a different kind of raindrops at the December 2nd meeting as RainDrop Products president Ron George presented information on "spraygrounds," water play areas. According to Geo ..... 
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Preston Council looks at economic development matters

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Joe Hoffman, Executive Director of the SE Minnesota Development Corporation (SEMDC) in Rushford, was before the Preston City Council on Monday night to discuss renewing the contract between his organization and the city of Preston for 2003.&nb ..... 
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A life in the Big Woods

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Walden, Henry David Thoreau, 1854.[Read the Rest]

Sheriff’s Department reviews staffing at Commissioner's meeting

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

"How are our deputies set up?" asked Chairman Bakke as Sheriff Jim Connolly prepared to give his report to the Fillmore County Board on Tuesday. Connolly said the press has interviewed him many times over the years and has given good coverage about h ..... 
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Fillmore County Board approves courthouse addition design

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

Former Commissioner Robert Thompson addressed the County Board regarding the courthouse building project on Tuesday.   In a soft voice that commanded silence from a somewhat uncomfortable looking board, Thompson said, "It bot ..... 
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Radio Hour fantastic holiday offering

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

One of the tastiest treats available in Fillmore County this holiday season is the Commonweal's final play of the year. The 1940's Radio Hour. In a formula oddly similar to the highly successful television show, Seinfeld, the new play, which opened N ..... 
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Rushford City Council: Liquor license fees questioned

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

Liquor licensing was a hot topic in the citizens’ concerns and comments portion of the Rushford City Council meeting November 25th. Business owners Judy Christian of Stumpy’s and Jim Kitchens of Nordic Lanes and American Legion and VFW representative ..... 
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Auction benefits scholarships

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

If the possessions we leave behind are any indicator of who we are as a person, then by all observations Mary Terry Love was a well-educated woman whose interests were as broad as her travels.

When the balance of her estate went ..... 
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