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County board sets 2016 preliminary tax levy

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners, on Sept. 22, adopted a preliminary gross county property tax levy of $38.24 million for 2016. This represents a 4.08 percent increase over the gross levy of $36.74 million for 2015.

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners, on Sept. 22, adopted a preliminary gross county property tax levy of $38.24 million for 2016. This represents a 4.08 percent increase over the gross levy of $36.74 million for 2015.

A Truth in Taxation public meeting will be held, starting at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, in the County Government Services Center, Fergus Falls. Minn. Following public input, the county board will adopt a final budget and levy, prior to a deadline of Dec. 28.

The Financial and Accounting Division of the County Auditor-Treasurer 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 budget,” said County Auditor-Treasurer Wayne Stein.  “Then it’s up to the five-person county board of commissioners to adopt a final budget.”

The county can decrease the percentage of increase over 2015.However, it cannot raise the increase above the 4.08 percent agreed to (on a preliminary basis) on Sept. 22.

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The County Finance Committee previously met to discuss and review in general terms the levy and budgetary guidelines. Also reviewed were proposed department budgets and various agency requests.

“This committee will complete additional review and discussion,” said Stein, “as needed and required concerning the 2016 proposed tax levy and budget.”

 

More about county

preliminary budget

Stein told county commissioners on Sept. 22 that some increases in the county budget for 2016 reflect more funding needed for elections in even-numbered years. Election funding in 2015 totals $52,100 compared to $210,694 that will be needed in 2016.

The highway levy for 2016 will be $3.61 million, up three percent from the 2015 levy of $3.50 million. Other money for highway funding comes from the state and federal governments. A half-cent county sales tax for roadway projects will commence in 2016.

County human services, which also receive state and federal dollars, will have a county 2016 tax levy of $7.90 million, up from $7.66 million in 2015.

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Total county tax capacity based on all property is approximately $87.4 million for payable year 2016 compared to $84.5 million for payable year 2015.

The county board, in addition to approving a preliminary budget and tax levy for county government services, also adopted proposed Lake Improvement District (LID) property tax levies for calendar year 2016.

LID levies for 2016 include the Pelican Group of Lakes, Pine Lakes, McDonald, Kerbs and Paul Lakes and Big McDonald.

All county residents, excluding those who live in Fergus Falls, Perham and a section of Wadena which is situated in eastern Otter Tail County, will also pay a portion of county property taxes to fund the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA).

Residents of the three aforementioned cities will pay for HRA funding through their city-authorized Housing and Redevelopment Authority levies.

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