County levy set at 4.75%
Last Tuesday, the Faribault County Board approved a proposed 2018 property tax levy increase of 4.75 percent. Although there was some discussion to set the preliminary levy at 5 percent, the board voted unanimously to come to their final decision.
The net total of next year’s preliminary levy amounts to $11,057,627. Meanwhile, the 2018 budget totals out to $22,341,533.
During the meeting, the board’s main point of emphasis centered around funds for the human services department within Faribault County. Of the $11,057,627 proposed levy, human services accounts for a net total of $2,520,371. This number represents a 14.5 percent increase over last year.
“That’s the dog that’s eating all the lunch,” said District 4 county commissioner Tom Loveall. “Our 15.38 percent change on the courthouse bonds, once you pay that off, you’re done. But this 14 and a half percent in human services, that stays there forever.”
Loveall cited salary increases and employee benefits as the two biggest costs within the human services department.
According to Faribault County auditor and treasurer John Thompson, the next course of action includes identifying how to reduce budget costs. While the cost of human services remained a hot button issue throughout the meeting, Thompson did not specify which expenses could possibly be eliminated.
“There’s still some places where I think we can shave that number down,” Thompson said. “The budget itself can always change, and I expect it to move down a little once December rolls around.”