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Swift County levy increases 1.8 percent

BENSON -- The Swift County levy will increase 1.8 percent in 2010.

The Commissioners certified the preliminary gross levy at $7,948,417 at their meeting last week. The levy includes $747,207 in program aid, which is $220,000 less than expected because of unallotment.

The county is not planning to make any major budget adjustments to make up for the lost state aid but will, instead, carry a $220,000 deficit in the 2010 budget. "We're probably going to live with that," said Auditor Byron Giese. "We don't feel that it's going to be a major concern."

The county had a deficit on the books in 2009 but Giese said they're "coming fairly close to breaking even this year."

With a history of being conservative on revenues and liberal on expenditures when the budget is put together, it all works out in the end, he said.

If it doesn't, the county will use reserves to make up the difference. But Giese said he's confident the county will "hold its own without having to use revenues."

The Commissioners haven't approved a budget yet, but preliminary figures show expenses of $15,957,471 and revenues of $15,735,500.

There is little new spending projected. Departments were asked to keep their budgets the same as 2009, said Giese. The Commissioners rejected a request to increase the levy and the spending for the Rural Development Authority.

The county did some serious belt-tightening last year and added $800,000 to the reserve fund in anticipation of the unallotment of state aid. "We knew it was going to get tighter," said Giese. "People just bucked up."

This year will be a "cautionary year," said Giese. "We're going to just hold our own."

In other action, the Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for Jennie-O Turkey Store for the reconstruction of turkey barns in Camp Lake Township.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750