FERGUS FALLS -- The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners will make a final decision on the 2020 county levy and tax increase at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the County Government Services Center in northwest Fergus Falls.

This subject was addressed during a public budget and levy hearing on Tuesday evening, Dec. 3, also at the services center in Fergus Falls. About 25 county residents were in attendance.

County commissioners are facing a net levy on county taxpayers of $43.7 million as part of the proposed net property tax for the payable year of 2020. The proposed increase from 2019 to 2020, now at 5.45 percent, can go lower but not higher on Dec. 17.

“The overall county budget for 2020 is close to $125 million, with the lion’s share coming from state and federal assistance,” said County Auditor-Treasurer Wayne Stein.

“The portion paid for by county taxpayers is close to 34%.”

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Stein and Kris Vipond from the county auditor-treasurer’s office serve on the county budget committee.

Other panel members include County Board Chairman Doug Huebsch of Perham and Commissioner Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids, County Administrator John Dinsmore and county government department heads.

Included in the county budget, Stein noted, are taxpayer funds for the land service division, finance division, human services, public health, county highways, military veterans services, solid waste, sheriff office and other departments.

“The mission of our County Auditor’s-Treasurer’s Office,” Stein said, “is to effectively and efficiently administer and implement the duties and responsibilities as delegated by the Minnesota State Legislature.”

Other county commissioners present at the Dec. 3 budget and levy hearing were Betty Murphy of Maine Township, Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls and John Lindquist of Dalton.