During the Aug. 10 Goodhue County Board meeting, commissioners were presented the first 2018 proposed budget and levy request draft. Next year's preliminary budget was then set at $61,974,149 with the preliminary levy at $34,217,195. The board voted on Tuesday, Sept. 19, to cut spending and bring the levy down to $33 million.
With a number of options to reduce the 2018 preliminary levy, commissioners were encouraged by Scott Arneson, county administrator, to shift options to 2019 to increase cuts by doing one of the following:
• Moving one full-time bailiff position with a cut of $82,500
• Wanamingo Landfill shift with a cut of $200,000
• Public Works roof shift with a cut of $630,000
• Wanamingo Landfill/Transfer Station shift from 2019 to 2020 with a cut of $800,000
With the option of choosing one of these cuts, county commissioners were reminded that to keep the tax rate flat over 2017 would be to set the preliminary levy at $33,230,000.
"All you do is cut a snow plow or something big," said Commissioner Jason Majerus, who argued for a lower preliminary levy. "There is ways within this budget that we can be more efficient and reduce spending. If staff has to be cut, then so be it."
While motions were made between setting the preliminary levy at the highest of $33,822,642 or the lowest at $32,500,000, the final agreement was set with a 3-2 vote (Commissioners Jason Majerus and Barney Nesseth voting no) at $33,000,000 with no restrictions.
"I can't in good conscience to the community and taxpayers to Goodhue County vote for something I don't know the effects on," said Commissioner Brad Anderson, in response to Majerus's proposal for a preliminary levy of $32,500,000.