December 10, 2021 at 10:30 a.m.
Moeller’s first task as Assessor was to be present for the annual Truth in Taxation hearing, which took up most of the meeting.
If you have a question about valuation for your property and want to book a visit from a deputy assessor to view your property and make sure assumptions are accurate, call 651-213-8550.
A handful of citizens attended last week and had no questions really, just remarks from about four people.
One was concerned that spending of the covid relief monies doesn’t leave the county on the hook for future costs. He was assured there are no plans to use covid-19 aid or American Recovery Program Act funds for anything other than one time expenses. The county and local governing units have four years to spend the ARPA monies.
A woman commented her residential taxes in the Wyoming City area are becoming unsustainable. She is in real estate and she said clients express to her that there is no value for what property taxes cost here.
The Board then voted 5-0 to adopt the budget and levy for next year. The levy is up 5.75 percent, or an additional $2.4 million for a local 2022 levy of $44,476,078.
(A listing of counties and their proposed levy increases has Mille Lacs levy increasing 24.5 percent and Isanti upping theirs by 7.35 percent. Area townships are looking at double digit hikes in Fish Lake and Chisago Lake 15 percent and Lent at 17 percent.)
Chase Burnham, County Administrator, explained the county added 5,000 population in the last 10 years.
There has been growth in the valuation of county parcels.
The county’s bank account is not being used to balance the budget next year, which had been common practice recently. “We are not using any fund balance” in 2022, Burnham noted.
Chisago County has debt service of $4.9 million annually for: the ARMER radio system build-out, for the Health and Human Services building in North Branch, for the business park in Center City and the multiple road/bridge projects.
The annual jail debt service of $628,925 is not levied— it is being covered out of County Program Aid from the state which totals about $3 million annually.
Burnham said as with any government unit the largest costs are for personnel. The county has 385 employees, give or take depending on the time of year, and $36 million of a $78 million overall budget is dedicated to personnel.
Commissioner Marlys Dunne said wages and benefits need to be addressed and are not supportable. She said she ran for County Board (this is her first year) because increases over the past few years are too much.
Commissioner Ben Montzka stated the county has to offer decent compensation to retain its good employees, and it’s smarter to stay competitive with nearby county wages than train new people all the time.