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County tax rate to rise 1.76%

Staff writer

Marion County will have a total budget of $6,980,217 in 2011, which will increase property taxes 1.76 percent.

Commissioners approved the budget, which is an increase of $416,250 from 2010, for publication. That amounts to a 1.127 mill increase, to 65.215 mills. The county’s legal notice of the budget can be found on page 13 in this newspaper. A public hearing on the budget will be Aug. 23.

A taxpayer with a $100,000 home can expect to pay $12.96 more in county property taxes in 2011 than 2010.

Despite concern over costly inmate transportation to jails in other counties, the commission was able to limit the tax increase by moving $100,000 that was intended to be spent on a road reclaimer into the general fund. The county had already included $100,000 for law enforcement facilities in the budget. Any remaining cost could be paid from the capital improvement or risk management reserve funds, accountant Scot Loyd said.

Sheriff Rob Craft estimated transporting inmates to other counties would cost $377,900 for the first year and $294,300 in later years.

Budgeting for law enforcement is difficult because costs can be unpredictable. Another county he works with has a single inmate who could cost the county $200,000 for a trial, jailing, and a change of venue, Loyd said.

Commissioner Dan Holub said there are other departments that might be at a tipping point, including the health and communications departments.

“Today’s crisis is the jail,” he said. “Tomorrow’s crisis might be something different.”

The commission needs to closely examine county expenses, including jobs, Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said.

“We need to go through with a fine-tooth comb and look at what we can do,” he said.

In other business:

  • Holub received permission to discharge fireworks at his home Saturday.
  • E. Diane Yunghans of rural Peabody was appointed to the Harvey-Marion County Community Developmental Disability Organization board. The board has one more vacancy.
  • Cardie Oil Company of Tampa will provide 4,000 gallons of clear diesel, 2,000 gallons of dyed diesel, and 2,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline to Road and Bridge Department for $19,658. Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro bid $19,900.
  • Hiebert Construction of Wamego was the winning bidder for a bridge project north of Tampa. Out of nine bids, the company was lowest with a bid of $259,557, about $70,000 below the engineer’s estimate. The county pays 20 percent of the cost, with the state paying the remainder.
  • Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet met with commissioners in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. Commissioners approved hiring a retired department employee to operate a road grader 24 hours a week while an ill employee recovers.
  • Commissioners instructed Noxious Weed Director Rollin Schmidt to offer $250 — the amount of the county’s insurance deductible — to a family requesting $400 for damage to their garden from county herbicide spraying.
  • Schmidt met with commissioners in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken on return to open session.

The next commission meeting will be Monday.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2010

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