Commissioners set Kandiyohi County budget for next year at $58.7 million

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved a $58.7 million budget for 2007. The gross levy was set at $24,843,650, which is a 5.72 percent increase from 2006. The county will receive state aid of $2,043,341, which...

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved a $58.7 million budget for 2007.

The gross levy was set at $24,843,650, which is a 5.72 percent increase from 2006.

The county will receive state aid of $2,043,341, which brings the net levy to $22,800,309.

The tax capacity rate for the county will decrease 6.7 percent from 2006. The tax capacity is the valuation of property, based on market value and class rate that determine property taxes.

The budget and levy report was presented by Larry Kle-indl, who is in the process of taking over as the county's new administrator, while he also continues his job as the family services director.


Wayne Thompson, who has served as county administrator since 1977, is retiring and is training Kleindl for the administrator job.

The commissioners praised Thompson for his work in preparing the 2007 budget and the budget for previous years.

"You've made it easy," said Chairman Dean Shuck.

The commissioners set their 2007 annual salary at $27,320, which is a nearly 5 percent increase from the 2006 salary of $26,020.

A motion to increase the stipend commissioners receive for attending committee meetings from $70 to $75 was defeated on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Richard Falk and Richard Larson voting in favor of the increase and Commissioners Shuck, Harlan Madsen and Dennis Peterson voting against it.

Larson said the stipend has remained the same for three years for Kandiyohi County Commissioners and commissioners in other counties receive stipends ranging from $75 to $100.

Larson said increasing the rate to $75 was "not out of line."

"I'm fine with $70," said Shuck.


Commissioners cannot collect more than one stipend per day even if they attend multiple meetings.

The commissioners agreed to submit a grant request for $15,000 from UCare Minnesota to help Rice Memorial Hospital establish a regional dental clinic here.

The clinic will offer dental care to "underserved populations" in a 12-county area. Dental students from the University of Minnesota would staff the clinic as part of their final training.

Lorry Massa, CEO of Rice Hospital, said Rice is concerned about carrying the full financial risk for the project and efforts are continuing to secure additional funding for the program.

Commissioner Larson said Kandiyohi County should make a "sizable contribution" to the clinic. "We back this project 100 percent."

Thompson said if state prisoners housed at the county jail are able to access the dental clinic, the state Department of Corrections would provide full reimbursement for the care. That partnership might allow the county to house even more state prisoners, which provides revenue to the county.

In other action Thursday:

- The board agreed to issue a $7.1 million general obligation bond as part of a process to refinance the Law Enforcement Center. The refinancing is estimated to save the county $300,000 in interest fees. Bids will be opened Jan. 2.


- Commissioners were informed that Lutheran Social Service has been selected as the new provider for home-delivered meals and meals provided to congregate nutrition sites in the 27 counties that make up the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging.

- Commissioners heard an update on legislative issues that will be brought to lawmakers by the Minnesota Social Service Association.

- The board agreed to install a system to remotely monitor and control the sanitary sewer lift stations around Lake Florida at a cost of $59,600. The item was included in the project budget.

- The board transferred ownership of a 2000 squad car from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department to the Coalition of African Community Services Center for $1. A similar transfer of a 1996 Dodge county pickup to the Prairie Lakes Environmental Learning Center was also approved.

- The board set a special meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to meet with county park managers to discuss fees and policies.

- A request for tax abatement by Melvin's on the Lake was withdrawn by the owner.

- Awarding of bids for a construction project at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center was delayed until Dec. 19.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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