Commissioners start with increase for 2014 preliminary levy and budget

Final levy can go down, but not up


by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer


The Morrison County Board of Commissioners approved preliminary figures for the 2014 levy and budget at its meeting, Tuesday.

“The budget committee has met numerous times to go over budget requests for 2014, and recommend approving this preliminary levy/budget,” said County Administrator Deb Gruber.

The levy has been tentatively set at $18.211 million, a 2.33 percent increase over 2013. The budget has been set at $38.652 million, a 2.17 percent increase.

At the same time, the Morrison County Housing and Redevelopment Authority preliminary levy and budget were approved at $35,000, an increase of $5,000.

“We have a lot of things to look at yet before approving the final levy in December,” said County Finance Director Steve Messerschmidt.

“This is our starting point,” said Board Member Randy Winscher.

“Between now and December we can go down if it works,” said Board Chair Duane Johnson.

“In October, we’ll start working on the final process,” Messerschmidt said.


Other business that came before the Morrison County Board Tuesday, included:

• Approving the submission of an application for needs determination on behalf of Employment Enterprises Inc., which will allow the number of people served to increase from 58 to 78, and the days allowed per year to increase to 275;

• Approving the increase in grade from 24 to 25 for the county emergency management supervisor position. “There is such a myriad of duties that this position involves,” said Sheriff Michel Wetzel. “We are held to a number of standards regarding pay in the public sector; to keep it comparable to similar public entities, to properly reflect roles and responsibilities of a position and be aware of job structure within the organization,” said County Administrator Deb Gruber;

• Approving a rezone request from shoreland residential to shoreland commercial for land now owned by Michael Kennedy at Lincoln Beach in Scandia Valley Township, soon to be purchased by Brian and Heather Sams for an expansion of Campfire Bay Resort;

• Approving a conditional use permit for Pine Bend Association to expand the existing youth camp in Pulaski Township, as recommended by the Planning Commission;

• Approving the repurchase of tax-forfeited property by William and Pamela Waldvogel;

• Entering into a mutual aid agreement with Todd County to provide assistance during disaster events;

• Authorizing Public Works Director Steve Backowski to begin the hiring process for two position being vacated by retirements. “It’s a critical time for us, right at the beginning of snow and ice season,” Backowski said. “Now we can move ahead with advertising and be ready to move right away when retirees choose their end dates;”

• Approving the purchase of new software to manage Public Works field assets, not to exceed $5,000;

• Appointing Royalton Mayor Andrea Lauer to the Rural Development Finance Authority Board;

• Appointing Commissioner Randy Winscher as an alternate to the Airport Board; and

• Setting the date for the Truth in Taxation meeting as Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.

The next County Board meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9 a.m.