Goodhue County sets 2013 budgetThe Goodhue County Board approved its final 2013 budget and levy Tuesday morning.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
The Goodhue County Board approved its final 2013 budget and levy Tuesday morning.
The budget was set at $54,532,919 and the levy at $26,936,658, which represents an increase of $250,000 or .94 percent from the 2012 levy.
At a budget workshop in August, the board decided to postpone the purchase of a Public Works trailer in addition to reducing spending in the Sheriff’s Office by postponing the purchase of three squad cars.
The 2013 draft budget included the replacement of 12 squad cars, a number that was high because the board had delayed replacing some of them in the past. To save money for 2013, commissioners told staff to factor in the postponement of three cars.
Commissioner Ron Allen addressed the number at Tuesday’s meeting.
“I don’t know how three is there,” he said. “I thought we were thinking about five or six squad cars instead of three.”
“If we keep delaying capital like this it’s going to cause problems in the future,” County Administrator Scott Arneson said.
After making adjustments following August’s budget workshop, county staff brought the board a preliminary levy amount of nearly $27.2 million to its September meeting. Commissioners agreed the number was too high.
To reach their final goal of $26,936,658, several alterations were made.
“There have been a number of changes in the budget — both ups and downs — which typically happens this time of year,” Arneson said.
To achieve the board’s desired amount, staff reduced employee costs in the Health and Human Services Department. Resignations and shifting of job duties helped achieve the cut. Approval of a new medical examiner in 2013 also resulted in some savings from what was originally budgeted.
To keep the 2013 levy as low as possible, the board decided to use a significant amount of money from its fund balance.
“We did use pretty much as much fund balance as we could to get the budget where it’s at,” Arneson said.
Some of the purchases to be made from the fund balance include:
• $81,600 from the ordinance enforcement account for the purchase of two vehicles in Land-use Management and one vehicle in the Surveyor Department;
• $46,137 from the recorder technology account to help pay for a list of projects approved by the board;
• $35,000 from the nuclear power plant account to be used for squad car replacement;
• $95,300 from the Byllesby Dam account to purchase a tractor loader and mower for Public Works;
• $69,100 from the Waste Management account to purchase two recycling boxes and a pup trailer.
A couple of larger projects planned with fund balance money include the Kenyon School project at no more than $150,000 and the purchase of land adjacent to Lake Byllesby Park for $254,000.
“We switched fund balance spending for a reduced levy,” Commissioner Ted Seifert said. “We haven’t solved our major problem and that is spending.”
The 2013 budget and levy were approved 3-2 by the board. Commissioners Allen and Seifert both voted against them.
“We can’t continue to consume our reserve fund at our current rate or in about two years it’s going to be gone,” Allen said.