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Board moves beyond budget


Wed, Sep 20th, 2000
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Monday, September 18, 2000

While the residents of Fillmore County were casting their votes in the primary election, the County Board was whisking through a rather light agenda at last Tuesday’s meeting.

As Commissioner Donald Boyum was the only Board member who was contested in a reelection bid, most of the Commissioners were in a safe position to chide their fellow member about the pressures of election day. Boyum, who easily accumulated the highest number of votes in his district, seemed to take their jokes in good spirit.

Nevertheless, the business of running the county must go on, and with a sense of relief at completing a challenging task, the Board approved the resolution for the tax levy payable in the year 2001. The new levy was set at $5,070,696, an increase of $417,428 over the year 2000 levy.

The Board had struggled for weeks in the development of the budget, trying hard to keep the levy increase at less than 10%. The new levy amount resulted in an increase of 8.97%.

The overall County revenue budget was set at $23,026,885 to cover an expense budget of $23,426,572. The shortfall in the revenues will be covered by unspent, carry-forward fund balances and reserves, which helped to alleviate the need to increase tax levies even further.

Flood Control

The Spring Valley City Administrator, Michael Bubany, was before the Board to discuss the creation of a joint powers agreement between Spring Valley, Fillmore County, and the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), to work with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in the development of a plan which could help mitigate flooding in the city.

The proposal for the joint powers board was the result of a recent meeting between multiple government agencies which included the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the NRCS.

The development of the joint powers board would provide funding mechanisms for the development of flood control projects that could help control the volume of water which might flow into the city during flood conditions.

"Would this program only be for Spring Valley?” inquired Commissioner Boyum. “What about down river? Would your solution move water faster?" To these questions, Bubany responded that the talks so far have been on how to control the water entering the city. He also added that the project would have geographical limits, but would also be concerned about what happened down river from Spring Valley.

Kevin Sheidecker, supervisor of the Fillmore SWCD office, was present at the meeting and advised that Mower County should probably be involved in the project since the watershed has its origins in that county.

As the Board seemed willing to become involved in the proposed venture, Bubany offered that he would have a joint powers resolution drafted and sent to the county for review.

Before leaving the meeting, Bubany briefed the Board on the groundbreaking of a new 12 lot subdivision that will be built in Spring Valley. The development will provide homes for working families and is funded in part by SEMCAC funding, through tax increment financing and a first-time homebuyers finance package.

Insurance Business

Robert Goede of the Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust (MCIT) made a presentation to update the Board on the activities of Fillmore County in the MCIT program. MCIT is an insurance trust fund which allows counties in the State to pool resources for a variety of services.

Besides property/casualty and workers compensation insurance, MCIT also provides a wide variety of services to county governments such as training programs and insurance consulting services.

Goede emphasized that MCIT is not an insurance company per se, but a trust fund that returns attractive dividends to its members. According to his report, Fillmore County has made contributions of $238,432 thus far in 2000, and received dividends of $173,678.

Corrected Feedlot Information

In a self-correction mode, this reporter erroneously reported last week that a feedlot of 10 or more animal units which either presents a pollution threat, or is located in a Shoreland District, could be required to have a conditional use permit. Such a feedlot would be required to have a feedlot permit, not a conditional use permit.

Conditional use permits are not required for feedlots until they reach the 500 animal unit size. A feedlot of 50 to 500 animal units requires a feedlot permit, and a feedlot of 10 to 50 animal units requires only feedlot registration. All feedlots of 10 or greater animal units are required to register under the current law. See page 12 of this week’s Journal for more information on registering.

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