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Paynesville Press - September 17, 2003

Stearns County Board of Commissioners, Sept. 2

By Michael Jacobson

The Stearns County Board of Commissioners took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2

•The board approved a budget and levy for 2004. The county's budget for 2004 is $87 million, up 1.1 percent despite $4.5 million in cuts in state funding. The increase is due to additional state prisoners being housed in the county jail.

The county's tax levy is up $42 million, an increase of 8.6 percent. Although the levy is up, taxpayers should not notice much increase, unless their home value increased, as the county's tax base increased with the 12 percent growth in new home construction.

The budget also calls for cuts in every department, including the elimination of 30 positions, of which 11 are currently vacant.

The county also will eliminate its Home Health Care program, which last year served 295 clients with 8,000 home visits.

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