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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Yellow Medicine County to increase levy 3.26 percent

  • On Tuesday Yellow Medicine County Board held its first meeting in the new board room of Yellow Medicine County’s Government Center, which opened for business on Monday.
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  • On Tuesday Yellow Medicine County Board held its first meeting in the new board room of Yellow Medicine County’s Government Center, which opened for business on Monday.
    The meeting marked the last opportunity for commissioners to set the 2014 budget and levy, and in a unanimous vote board members approved a 2014 budget of $16.9 million and tax levy increase of 3.26 percent.
    Prepared by YMC Finance Director Michelle May, the budget proposal accounted for $152,000 in major revenue losses, $364,000 in expense increases and roughly $46,000 in additional fund requests that together comprise the majority of the potential budgetary shortfall that the county had to rectify during the budget process. The loss in revenues was largely related to a decline in interest income on investments ($45,000) as well as Social Service grants and aid ($99,400), while the expenses were mainly the result of increased health insurance rates ($161,000) and salaries ($190,000).
    In sum, the roughly $517,000 in lost revenue and expenses would require a nearly 6 percent levy increase alone to bring the budget into alignment. Each percentage increase to the levy generates $86,732 in revenue.
    The county’s options for balancing the budget involve raising revenue, cutting expenses (services), deficit spending and/or increasing the tax levy.
    With the inclusion of a 3.26 percent levy increase, the final budget approved by commissioners for 2014 includes revenues of $16.3 million and expenses of $16.9 million, which is actually a reduction in both 2013 revenues of 16.72 million and expenses of $17 million. According to May, the $625,000 remaining deficit would be addressed by drawing down county reserves.
    At present, May said the county has a healthy reserve of roughly 12 million dollars that would cover county operations for 8.5 months. It is the recommendation by the state auditor that counties maintain reserves in the range of 6-9 months.
    In the future, commissioners said they had hoped to find ways to reign in the budget by going line through line of the budget and looking for potential cost cutting areas.
    In other news:
    •The board approved a request Family Service Director Rae Ann Keeler-Aus in regard to the hire Danielle Guertin as an administrative secretary of the children's unit at a salary of $13 per hour.
    •At the request of County Engineer Andy Sander, the board approved the purchase of a John Deere 1435 Series E mower at a cost of $28,299 and a Titan Machine T-100DTG lowboy trailer for $70,123.
    •Property and Public Service Janel Timm presented the board with a list of tax forfeited properties and land which will printed in the legals section of the Advocate Tribune.
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