County board to set max tax increase

Published 10:32 am Monday, September 10, 2012

The county board could finally have decisions on at least two key issues Tuesday.

The board is slated to set its maximum tax levy increase for 2013 during its 9:30 a.m. meeting. If all budget requests go through, the county could be looking at an 18 percent increase. However, the finance committee planned to meet Monday to hone the budget.

Once the maximum levy is set, the board can only decrease the levy until it finalizes the 2013 budget in December. For the 2012 budget, the county’s levy increased by 4.5 percent.

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Sheriff Terese Amazi should also have a decision about whether her office and other emergency officials will be fully committed to the Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response.

Mower County is the last holdout in southern Minnesota using FM radios and not the 800 MHz system.

Grant dollars are available through ARMER to pay about half the cost of three 800 MHz radio consoles for dispatch that would cost about $175,000 each. The clock is ticking on the grant dollars, and the county could lose them if it doesn’t vote to move forward Tuesday.

The board was slated to vote last week, but commissioners delayed the vote since Commissioners Mike Ankeny and Tim Gabrielson were absent.

Previously, county officials said the board would vote on whether to be fully in on the Southeastern Minnesota Human Services Redesign Sept. 11. But, the Human Services merger is not on the board’s agenda for Tuesday after two more counties — now eight total — opted out of the once 12-county project.

The board is expected to vote sometime in September.

The board will also discuss a grant agreement with water plan coordinator Justin Hanson.