The McLeod County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday adopted — on a 4-1 vote — a preliminary 2014 budget which has a proposed 2.27 percent levy increase.
The McLeod County Chronicle reports last week, the County Board debated in a workshop session whether it would continue its recent practice of no levy increases, offsetting deficits by spending down reserves, or seek the state allowable 3 percent levy increase.
Tuesday morning, County Auditor-Treasurer Cindy Schultz presented the commissioners with three possible scenarios, a zero percent increase, a 2.27 percent increase, or a budget that showed a reduction in both revenues and expenditures because the state sales tax will no longer be applicable for counties after Jan. 1. In the past, the county levied money to cover what it had to potentially pay in sales taxes on its purchases, which is why Schultz said the third proposal reduced both the revenues and expenditures by about $160,000.
Chair Paul Wright advocated for the levy increase, saying that the County Board has “had several years of zero increases.” During that time, Wright said, the county had managed to keep staff with no layoffs, but also with little or not much in raises. “We managed to weather that storm and came out fine,” Wright said. But now, Wright says, the county is poised to put some long-range plans into place “and we have the possibility of taking on some projects.”