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Commissioners approve 2019 county tax levy

On Dec. 18 the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners gave final approval for a 2019 county-wide net tax levy of $40.1 million. This represents a 3.9 percent increase from the prior year.

County Auditor-Treasuer Wayne Stein. Tom Hintgen/Otter Tail County Correspondent.
County Auditor-Treasurer Wayne Stein

On Dec. 18 the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners gave final approval for a 2019 county-wide net tax levy of $40.1 million. This represents a 3.9 percent increase from the prior year.

A public hearing on the levy, with citizen input provided, was held Dec. 11. The 3.9 percent increase for county taxpayers is below the average of 4.05 percent for counties which are members of the Minnesota Inter-County Agency (MICA).

"The final levy of $40.1 million is only 36.5 percent of the overall county budget of close to $110 million," notes County Auditor-Treasurer Wayne Stein. "That's because most of the dollars come from the state and federal governments."

The state of Minnesota previously dropped county aid, resulting in a 2.58 percent loss for Otter Tail County.

Voting yes for the final 2019 tax levy were County Board Chairman Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids, new County Commissioner Betty Murphy of Maine Township and Commissioners Doug Huebsch of Perham, John Lindquist of Dalton and Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls.

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Included in the budget, noted Stein, are county taxpayer funds for community services (public health, assistance to military veterans etc.), public works (highways, land and resource management and solid waste), law enforcement (including sheriff office), and internal services (administration, human services, facilities operations, information technology, geographic information systems and emergency management).

Additional money is provided for the auditor-treasurer's office, licensing, elections, county attorney, assessor, recorder and land services.

Other county board action on Dec. 18

County commissioners approved $1,083,600 to be divided between the newly named Community Development Agency (CDA) of Otter Tail County and the County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). Funds, as noted on Dec. 18, will be used for traditional housing and redevelopment programs as well as projects related to community development (such as day care) and overall economic development for the betterment of Otter Tail County.

Some county residents pay additional taxes if they live in areas where Lake Improvement Districts are located. Others who do not live in communities where public libraries are located pay for regional library services.

Related Topics: OTTER TAIL COUNTY
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