Crow Wing County commissioners voted to set a 2002 preliminary levy at $18,548,957 Tuesday, noting the number will not go up and may, in fact, decrease before a final levy is adopted in December.
The levy for 2002 is an increase of 11 percent, or $1,865,175 from last year. The $18.5 million figure for the 2002 preliminary levy is based on the county's levy limit calculated by the state.
Commissioners expressed displeasure at recent remarks by Gov. Jesse Ventura on his radio program that local units of government may undo property tax relief efforts. Board Chairman Ed Larsen said the state cuts taxes while it increases demands or mandates on county spending and then tries to lay blame for any tax increase at the grassroots government levels.
"I find that to be rather distasteful," Larsen said.
Commissioners also expressed surprise at a 20 percent increase in the required county contribution for the regional library system. The required contribution increased from about $300,000 to $370,914.
Calculations for 2002 took the alternative levy limit base in 2001 of $18,272,355, added the commercial and industrial construction increase for the year and the increase in households, which equaled nearly $1.2 million by itself.
Then 2002 state aids were subtracted for criminal justice, family preservation and the Homestead and Agricultural Credit Aid, which is the greatest amount at about $2.1 million. Debt levies were then added to the mix to create the final county levy total.
The county board anticipated expenditures at $49,274,936. Expected revenues are $26,265,044. Budget cuts/reserves are expected to total $2,352,770. Homestead and Agricultural Credit Aid from the state should total $2,108,165 designated for the general fund.
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