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Kandiyohi County certifies 2011 levy, budget

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $55.5 million budget and a $28.9 million levy for 2011.

The levy is an increase of 2.68 percent over last year.

A truth in taxation hearing is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Health and Human Services Building.

County Administrator Larry Kleindl said there was an increase in the levy even though budgets from individual departments were either the same or lower than last year.

The budgets were kept tight even though the county's state program aid has been steadily whittled away.

Since 2008 state program aid has been cut by $1.9 million for the county, which has forced the county to "make adjustments" in the form of reduced staff and services, said Kleindl.

The county is expected to receive $1.7 million in program aid this year.

Even with cuts and using reserves for some expenses, like a $1.5 million expansion at the landfill, the levy is increasing.

Kleindl said the 2011 levy would've remained the same, or even decreased, if there hadn't been large expenses required at the sanitary landfill.

The county has to pay $236,000 into the landfill's assurance fund every year for 10 years for future closure and $225,000 for a new payloader for the landfill. An additional $278,000 in health care insurance also increased the levy.

The commissioners also approved a budget request of $485,111 from the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, which is the same as 2010, and a levy request of $121,232 from the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority, which is also the same as 2010 and 2009.

Carolyn Lange

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

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