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Paynesville Press - September 29, 2004

County board proposes 2005 budget, levy

By Michael Jacobson

The Stearns County Board of Commissioners took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

*The board approved the countyŐs preliminary budget and levy for 2005. Spending increased 2.5 percent from 2004, with additional dollars going mostly to the sheriffŐs department for additional staff and to the highway department.

Although proposed spending increased only 2.5 percent, the proposed tax levy is increasing 9.4 percent. ThatŐs due in large part to revenue losses from state and federal aid. Overall, most homeowners will still only see a minimal, if any, tax increase because of the growth in the countyŐs tax base.

The preliminary budget for 2005 is $90 million. The tax levy is $46 million, approximately half the budget. Only eight years ago, the levy used to account for only 34 percent of the budget. Today the levy accounts for over 50 percent due to shifts in state funding.

The board will hold a Truth-in-Taxation public hearing in early December to allow people to give their comments on the budget. The board will then give final approval to the budget and levy later in December.

*The county will erect a memorial in honor of former commissioner Rose Arnold. A maple tree from her home will be planted on the east side of the courthouse along with a plaque in her memory. Arnold died in late July. She was the first female county commissioner in Stearns County.

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