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County sets preliminary levy at 4.04 percent

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners has adopted a preliminary net property tax levy of $32.4 million for 2013 - a 4.04 percent increase over the current levy.

A Truth in Taxation meeting will be held Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in the County Government Services Center in Fergus Falls to allow for public input. Following that meeting, but before the end of December, the county board must adopt a final budget and levy.

The board can still decide to decrease the levy, but the amount cannot be increased beyond what's been set.

At a meeting last week, county commissioners explained that additional funding is needed for capital projects. It's pay now or pay later, they said.

The board, in addition to approving a preliminary budget and tax levy for county government services, also adopted proposed Lake Improvement District Property Tax Levies for 2013. They include the Pelican Group of Lakes ($120,000), Pine Lakes ($33,150) and Little McDonald, Kerbs and Paul lakes ($100,000).

County Auditor Wayne Stein provided financial information to the board last week. The Financial and Accounting Division of the County Auditor's office is the chief financial and accounting office for Otter Tail County.

"This division, with the assistance of all county departments, is responsible for the preparation of the annual financial statement," said Stein.

The amount of $71.4 million was adopted by commissioners as the proposed budget for 2013. This covers the general fund, special revenue funds and debt service funds.