The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 11, 2012

Nicollet County adopts 3 percent tax levy increase

By Brian Ojanpa
Free Press Staff Writer

ST PETER — Nicollet County’s tax levy will increase 3 percent as its budget increases 8.35 percent in 2013.

The County Board on Tuesday adopted 2013 measures calling for a$32.3 million budget, up from $29.8 million in 2012.

The 3 percent levy increase compares to a 1 percent increase last year.

Acting County Administrator Bridgette Kennedy said reductions in state aid to local governments continue to stress budgets.

She said meeting the 2013 budget will require the county to use nearly $403,000 of its reserve funds. Last year it had to draw upon $276,000 in reserves.

Though the county last year set a 2012 budget that was a 2.5 percent decrease from the 2011 budget, commissioners said that type of scenario would be short-lived as the state girded for more multi-million-dollar deficits.

Taxpayers’ reconciliation with that ongoing dynamic may have been reflected at the county’s annual public budget input meeting Monday night.

Board Chairman Bruce Beatty said four people showed up with only one addressing the impending levy.

In other board action Tuesday, 2013 salaries were set for commissioners and the county attorney.

Commissioners’ pay will go from $26,460 to $27,526 with the board chairman receiving an additional $1,500 for position-related duties.

County Attorney Michelle Zehnder Fischer’s salary will increase from $95,000 to $98,828.

Commissioners also adopted a 1 percent cost-of-living wage increase for all county non-union employees.