County sets levy with 3 percent increase
Another budget and levy season has come and passed for Faribault County, but this year’s preparations were unlike anything officials have ever experienced.
“We had to deal with the most significant change in tax law I have seen in 25 years,” Faribault County Auditor John Thompson says. “It took us a lot of extra time.”
The change in tax law Thompson is referring to is the state’s decision to eliminate Market Value Homestead Credit (MVHC).
In the past, property owners would receive a homestead credit on their property taxes and the state would later reimburse Faribault County for the amount credited. This year, that burden has shifted from the state to the taxpayers causing additional headaches for the Faribault County Auditor’s office.
When the smoke cleared, this year’s levy was increased by 3 percent – the same figure that was proposed in September.
“It is a reasonable increase when faced with the cutbacks from the state,” Thompson says.
The biggest change in the levy will come through a $271,000 increase in the general fund.
Thompson cites paying county employees post-retirement benefits and new standards in accounting as the driving forces causing the increase.
The resolution to pass the 2012 levy was unanimously accepted by the commissioners.
In addition to the levy, the 2012 budget was also unanimously approved in a resolution passed at Tuesday’s meeting.
This year’s budget will be set at $19,001,022 in revenues, $19,112,388 in expenditures and $574,735 in transfers.
Thompson says the budget is somewhat below last year’s due to a public works project not on the books.
A last minute change to the budget yet to be made will account for an increase in the county commissioners base salary.
In a unanimous decision, board members voted to increase their salary by 1.25 percent for 2012. The annual salary of each commissioner in Faribault County will be $17,960.
The salary increase is identical to increases given to non-union county employees.
On top of their base salary, commissioners are paid a per diem of $80 a day and are reimbursed for mileage. Those rates will remain the same as in years past.
With the last meeting of the year completed, Commissioner Tom Warmka will no longer serve as the board chairman. The commissioners will select a new chairman Jan. 3.