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County stunned at size of proposed cut – $389K

By Staff | Feb 21, 2010

John Thompson

“Well, I guess it’s back to the old drawing board,” Faribault County Auditor/-Treasurer John Thompson told the County Board last Tuesday.

He was referring to the news that the governor’s proposed local government aid (LGA) cuts to the county could hit $389,000.

“It’s a bigger number than what I thought it would be,” Thompson told the board. “I thought the previous cut of $200,000 was included, but it’s not.”

The revelation came at the end of the County Board meeting and caught the commissioners off guard.

“We have already made all of the cuts in discretionary funding that we can,” Commissioner Tom Loveall says. “This will affect people.”

Although they were only making random comments, commissioners said they expect everything will be back on the table, and more cuts could come that will affect people, limiting hours, limiting pay, and limiting employee costs.

The board also discussed mandatory furloughs, closing the courthouse for a day on certain weeks, and other measures. One item was the public bus transit program, which costs the county $50,000 a year.

“Even if we do cut a lot of these things, it won’t get us to $389,000 in savings,”Commissioner John Roper says.

Commissioner Tom Warmka agreed, and suggested public input may be needed to hear what programs people think should be cut. Commissioner Bill Groskreutz disagreed.

“If we ask people what programs to cut, they will say the ones that don’t affect them,” he suggests.

The board acknowledged that trying to cut the current 2010 budget will be a continuing topic for the next few months.

In other business:

— Learned from Michelle Stindtman, of the Soil and Water Conservation District office, that John Meyer, Kiester, has been hired for the new Resource Conservation Technician position.

There were 47 applications for the job, and nine persons were interviewed.

Meyer has an agriculture background and was the strongest candidate, Stindtman says. He will start work on March 1.

The newly created position is part of the restructuring of the Soil and Water office as they take over the duties which had been performed by the Planning and Zoning office.

— Heard a report from Go Minnesota Director Doug Uhrhammer. He included information on five companies either new to the area or looking to expand.

“I am cautiously optimistic that businesses are turning around here,” Uhrhammer says.

He also reported Go Minnesota has moved into their new office in the Ag Center in Blue Earth, and have a new telephone number (507) 526-2151.