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County Board to get overview of 2016 budget

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners will get their first look this coming week at a preliminary budget for 2016. A budget session for the County Board will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday in the board room at the Health and H...

WILLMAR - The Kandiyohi County Commissioners will get their first look this coming week at a preliminary budget for 2016.
A budget session for the County Board will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday in the board room at the Health and Human Services Building.
The commissioners will hear an overview of the spending needs that lie ahead and will begin to address some of the specific categories listed in the proposed budget for next year.
It’s the start of an annual process that will end with adoption of a formal 2016 budget. In the meantime, there will be lots of discussion and scrutiny, said Larry Kleindl, county administrator.
“We’ll go through line by line,” he said.
This year’s budget includes $64 million in expenses and a $29.8 million property tax levy.
Several factors are expected to loom large as next year’s budget is put together.
The county will open a new cell at its landfill in 2016 at an estimated cost of $1 million, Kleindl said.
“We don’t do that very often,” he said.
The commissioners also need to figure out how to recoup the dollars that were borrowed last year for road projects, Kleindl said. Next year the county must come up with a $200,000 match for the Grass Lake project as well.
The county also faces rising costs for its employee health insurance, Kleindl said. “Insurance costs will have a large impact in the budget.”
Decisions will take place against a backdrop of dwindling state and federal aid to support county programs. The majority of the county budget is for necessary services that range from public health and family services to the sheriff’s office, the county jail, public works, the auditor-treasurer’s office and the driver’s license and motor vehicle license bureau.
“We continue to get less in aid,” Kleindl said.
The deadline for certifying the property tax levy for next year isn’t until mid-September. And the county commissioners have until December to finalize the budget. But the process has been underway for the past two months already with information-gathering and internal talks, Kleindl said. “I’ve been working with the department heads already.”

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