With the state facing a $4.5 billion budget deficit over the next 2 1/2 years, the Crow Wing County Board took a step Tuesday to prepare for what might be ahead.
The board agreed to support the concept of the Minnesota County Restructure Act, which was drafted by the Association of Minnesota Counties.
County Administrator Peter Herlofsky Jr. said the restructure act or policy is one way to work in a positive way with the state on budget cuts.
"This concept is to try to promote cooperation with the state," said Herlofsky.
Commissioner Terry Sluss said there will be cuts and the restructure act gives the county flexibility on what it wants to do with services.
"We need to be part of the solution," said Sluss.
The act states that counties may provide services that contribute to the health, safety, welfare and economic well being of the county. Herlofsky said if the state cuts a certain program the county wants to continue, the county could keep the program as long as it funds the program. He said the policy also allows counties to look at programs to see which ones are important to their communities and to eliminate programs that are not as important.
The Cass County Board also supported this concept at its meeting Tuesday.
In other county business, Crow Wing commissioners:
Heard that the county has $2,108,165 in Homestead Agricultural Credit Aid in the 2003 budget. Herlofsky said legislators are looking at HACA and Market Value Credit Aid and the county could see changes in the local aids.
Approved the 2003 Community Health Services budget. The department receives $1,909,862 for programs. A majority of these dollars are spent for family health and home health care.
Approved an agreement for the Enhanced-911 address system with Integra Telecom of Minnesota.
Approved cooperative contract agreements with the DNR for forest development.
Awarded a bid to The Brainerd Daily Dispatch for the county's printing and publishing needs.
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