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Kandiyohi County adopts budget, tax levy for 2019

WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County Board voted Wednesday to formally adopt a $78.1 million budget and $33.8 million net property tax levy for 2019.

The board's action was the final step in a process that began back in June with county department heads and the county administrator.

Along the way, the budget went through multiple drafts and three public meetings. The most recent public forum, the county's annual Truth in Taxation hearing, was held last week to give taxpayers a final chance to comment on the budget and tax levy; it generated no public comment.

The County Commissioners took their final action on the 2019 budget with minimal discussion Wednesday. Most of the board's in-depth scrutiny of the budget and levy took place during a half-day work session in August.

The property tax levy is going up by 4.6 percent next year, driven largely by rising operational costs. Expenses are increasing in several areas, especially for workers' compensation premiums and employee pay and benefits.

It's the largest tax levy increase the county has seen in almost a decade, although the impact has been somewhat blunted with county program aid from the state of Minnesota. Kandiyohi County has maintained a tradition of applying the state aid directly to property tax relief, a move that will provide $1.9 million in property tax relief next year.

Even though the budget is now finalized, it's always a work in progress as needs emerge and new issues come up throughout the year, said Larry Kleindl, county administrator.

"Department heads are looking at the budget all the time," he said.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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