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Koenen introduces bill to offset aid losses for area counties

ST. PAUL — Several area counties saw their county program aid reduced by the state this year, despite the fact that most counties actually saw an increase thanks to legislation approved in 2013.

State Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, is introducing legislation that will provide supplemental funds to make up the losses to those counties that saw the reductions. Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine are among the local counties that have seen their county program aid reduced.

Koenen said in a news release that his bill would give these counties a one-time supplement to replace the lost aid.

There are 11 counties that will see lower county program aid in 2014 than what they had in 2013. Each of these 11 counties is eligible for supplemental aid that makes up for the difference between aid received last year and the aid certified for this year.

The amount necessary to pay this supplemental aid would come from the general fund to the commissioner of revenue. The total cost for this supplemental aid is approximately $738,000.

In Koenen’s district, Chippewa County lost 35.4 percent of its county program aid. This represents a loss of approximately $185,000.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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