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EDC in Willmar, Minn., votes to hold the line once again on tax levy

LAKE LILLIAN - A recommendation to hold the line on the property tax levy next year for the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission was upheld Thursday by the EDC governing board.

Members of the joint powers board voted to keep the tax levy at $455,000 for 2014, making it the fourth year in a row the Economic Development Commission has held its levy request at the same level.

Staff suggested increasing the levy for 2014 but the idea was turned down last month by the operating board, which forwarded a recommendation to the governing board to keep the tax levy the same.

In effect it means city and county taxpayers will once again see no change in their share of property taxes paid on behalf of the Economic Development Commission.

The EDC has until Sept. 15 to certify its tax levy with the Kandiyohi County auditor. It has until the end of the year, however, to finalize the 2014 budget, which projects just over $530,000 in expenses for programs, staff and overhead costs.

Joint powers board members said Thursday that the $75,000 difference can come out of the EDC's reserve fund.

Program expenses may be higher next year as some of the EDC's agriculture and renewable energy initiatives begin to gather steam, but the agency has adequate cash reserves and a "very favorable" track record of spending responsibly, said Kandiyohi County Commissioner Harlan Madsen.

The EDC doesn't need to build up a large reserve fund, agreed Ron Christianson of the Willmar City Council. "This money is to be used for economic development," he said.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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