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Funding for government lapses as short-term spending bill stalls in the Senate

Swift County Commissioners give preliminary approval to 3-percent levy increase

BENSON -- The Swift County Board of Commissioners gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a 3 percent increase in the 2013 levy.

The total proposed levy for next year is $8.79 million, compared to $8.54 million this year.

The $256,204 levy increase reflects, in part, the county's continually shrinking state aid.

Ten years ago Swift County received $945,712 in state aid. This year the county got $384,876. Next year it will slip to $160,939.

"It's nothing," Auditor Byron Giese said of the aid.

The budget for next year has not been finalized, but Giese said he anticipates expenses will be approximately $18.5 million.

"I'm very pleased the way our budget looks," he said. "I think they can live very comfortably within that."

The proposed budget is about $2 million more than this year.

According to Giese the increased expenses are because of additional road projects planned for the year and the addition of a county administrator position starting in 2013.

The county is in the process of redesigning its administrative structure in response to the resignation of two elected officials who are leaving office before their terms expire.

Giese is retiring next spring and the county recorder, Donna Lilleberg, retired earlier this year and an interim recorder has been appointed.

The commissioners considered filling those two positions the same way they always have -- through the election process.

But after working with a consultant this summer, the commissioners agreed that appointing people to those posts, and hiring an administrator, would give the county greater flexibility in how it operates.

The change to appointments still needs voter approval.

The Swift County ballot this fall will include two separate yes or no questions, asking voters if the positions of recorder and auditor should be appointed.

Meanwhile, the commissioners hired Springsted Inc. to assist in their search for an administrator.

Carolyn Lange

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

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