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Proposed Kandiyohi County budget, levy gets another review

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners will take one last look at the proposed 2009 budget and levy during a special work session at 9 a.m. Monday.

If there are no changes, the $60 million budget will be adopted at the County Board's regular meeting Tuesday.

But given the state's projected $5 billion deficit, and concerns that counties could lose their state aid, changes could be made, said County Administrator Larry Kleindl.

That could necessitate a special meeting to approve the budget and levy before the Dec. 31 deadline.

Even if the commissioners decide not to make reductions now, which Kleindl will recommend on Monday, he said the "best laid plans" in the county budget could dissolve if state aid is cut.

In 2009, Kandiyohi County is scheduled to receive $2.2 million in state aid to supplement local tax revenue of $25.1 million.

Kleindl said commissioners will review the entire budget Monday, "look at all the numbers one more time," discuss information that was presented during the Truth-in-Taxation hearing last week and "put together a plan that we want to certify."

The review will prepare the commissioners for making reductions if the state aid is cut. "We'll be working on strategies," Kleindl said. "Everything is on the table."

The county has reserve funds, but Kleindl said using them to patch together the budget would be the "last resort" option.

Kleindl said he has been meeting with department heads to discuss local cuts if the state aid is cut.

"I would say everything would be looked at. Everything will be reviewed in how we do business," he said. "The public will see some changes."

While giving fair warning that county services could be reduced and projects delayed, Kleindl said he doesn't want to alarm people.

"We're not panicking and I don't want the public to panic," he said. "Yes, these are going to be challenging times, but we're preparing to meet them."

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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