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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
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2015 budget dominates county board agenda


Fri, Aug 15th, 2014
Posted in All Government

It is that time of the year. The county commissioners at their August 12 meeting looked line by line at several departmental budgets searching for ways to trim them down. They only have two options to cut expenses or to increase revenue or a combination of both.

Departmental budget numbers were reviewed this day from Sanitation-Jon Martin, University of Minnesota Extension-Chuck Schwartau, County Recorder-David Kiehne, and Auditor/Treasurer-Shirl Boelter. The county does not yet have the information for health insurance rates at this point.

Martin reported an overall $12,000 increase in the Sanitation budget for 2015. Schwartau, filling in for Jerry Tesmer who is on medical leave, said that they were in the third year of a three year contract and that the 2015 budget reflects a 1.5 percent wage increase.

Kiehne explained that his department has seen a drop off in income from recording fees. He commented that the first year he was the county recorder about 9,000 documents were recorded and this year they are down to about 5,000. The number of documents being recorded fell off in June and July, but there has been some increase since then. There was an error in the 2014 recorder budget which showed income twice. Chairman Duane Bakke noted that it is $100,000 off the actual figures. He added it was a mistake on their part (the board) as they all went along with it. County Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman explained that because there is one less employee in the department, the actual amount the budget for the department will be off will be less than $100,000. Kiehne noted some changes have been made which should make it less confusing. The GIS department has also experienced a fall off in revenue or fees (about $17,000).

There was a discussion over whether or not to include revenue projections for delinquent tax payments in the next Auditor/Treasurer budget. These numbers have been included in the recent past, but not previous to that. It was decided to gradually walk that number back toward 0 starting with 2015. It was also discussed whether or not to put money aside yearly for the replacement of election equipment. The voting machines don’t get as much use as in more populated areas. Boelter reported that it costs $10,000 per year for required testing of the voting machines.

Commissioner Randy Dahl noted that there is a minimum and maximum recommended for a county to hold as reserves. He added that with the relatively small size of Fillmore County’s budget, a couple of unexpected expenses for things out of the board’s control can have a great effect. Dahl maintained they need to have a cushion to absorb these unexpected expenses.

Tax Forfeiture Sale

The date for the live auction tax forfeiture sale was set, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. in the lobby of the county courthouse. The minimum bid acceptable is the appraised value of the parcel. Commissioner Marc Prestby noted that if a parcel does not sell at the auction, anyone can come in after that and pay the minimum assigned to a parcel to purchase it.

The City of Mabel requested that the tax forfeited property located in Mabel at 321 Locust Street North be deeded to the city to use as an alleyway, a public purpose. Chairman Duane Bakke said the city will need to keep it open all winter. The board approved the acquisition of the property by Mabel for a public use.

Boelter noted that in the past a cash payment for the full price of a parcel was required in full the day of the auction. The board approved 12 terms of sale for the auction. The terms will allow a buyer three days to pay for a purchase if the purchase price is more than $100,000. Ten percent down and a purchase agreement will be required. If the buyer fails to pay the balance in three days the parcel will go to the next bidder and the down payment of 10 percent will be forfeited. If a parcel sells for less than $100,000, the full sale price is due the day of the sale.

The board approved and authorized the sale of the forfeited parcels to the state for non-payment of taxes.

Other Business In Brief

•The hire of a temporary feedlot assistant (Rockne West) for two months (August to October) was approved. The temporary position will be paid for with the feedlot performance grant. The assistant will help complete required inspections for the Work Plan Strategy Goal. The inspections will allow the county to receive additional performance grant money for 2015.

•Advertisement for sealed bids for the 2015 and 2016 lease of the county farm land was approved. The 46 acres of tillable land available for lease has 44 acres of corn based land.

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