Financial report approved for print by Commissioners

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

The Morrison County Commissioners approved printing the financial report for the county, ending Dec. 31, 2013, in the Morrison County Record. The document outlines the county’s financial performance during 2013.

Key proponents of the report are:

•The county’s net position increased 4.5 percent over prior years from $115.092 million to $120.234 million;

•The overall fund revenues totaled $39.723 million, $609,000 more than expenditures; and

•The general fund’s balance increased $127,785 from the prior year.

Total assets increased 2.5 percent from $132.725 million to $136.048 million and total liabilities decreased 10.3 percent from $17.633 million to $15.814 million.

Revenues (82 percent comes from property taxes and intergovernmental sources) increased 4.3 percent from $37.993 million to $39.633 million and expenses increased by 10.2 percent from $31.305 million to $34.491 million.

The cost of governmental activities in 2013 came to $34.491 million. Users of county programs paid $6.188 million of this cost. The federal and state government, through grants and contributions, paid $14.803 million. The remaining $13.500 million was paid for by county and state taxpayers.

The cost of the activities increase by 10 percent over 2012.

The road and bridge special revenue (proceeds for specific purposes) fund balance increased $232,000 from the prior year; the social services special revenue fund increased $264,000; and the solid waste special revenue fund increased $182,590.

Steve Messerschmidt, representing the Morrison County auditor/treasurer’s department, said the cost to print the budget in the newspaper was approximately $7,000.

Deb Gruber, Morrison County administrator, said she would like to see a friendlier version printed.

Commissioner Randy Winscher said that he knows no one who reads the entire budget, but that it’s the law to print it in it’s entirety.

Commissioner Chair Jeff Jelinski said, “Until the law changes, this is it.”

Morrison County Commissioners Briefs

Other business conducted by the Morrison County Commissioners Tuesday included:

•Adopting a resolution to have Gov. Mark Dayton petition the federal government declaring Morrison County a disaster area from losses sustained from flooding between June 1 – 4. Sheriff Deputy Scott Mackissock said property damages in the county amounted to about $300,000 during that time, but the time frame did not fit into the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) dates of June 11 – July 11. Board Chair Jeff Jelinski said he is not thrilled with how FEMA is handling this and that it will be bleak going after FEMA to change their dates;

•Approving an event permit for Mud Fest in Hillman from Friday – Monday, Aug. 29 – Sept. 1. Fifteen hundred tickets have been sold for the event which promotes playing in the mud and primitive camping. Two thousand people are expected over the four days. Owner/operator Ralph Rinkel said he had met with Sheriff Michel Wetzel to discuss concerns. Wetzel said his objections have not changed but that a consensus had been reached on staffing levels;

•Voting to accept changes to the Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative (MCCC) joint powers agreement. The name of the control group was changed to a board from a committee and the quorum required changed from 66 percent to 55 percent;

•Opting to have the Morrison County correction officers take a majority vote to decide whether to continue having social security deducted from their paychecks, revert to solely using the Public Employees Retirement Account or possibly both;

•Approving tax abatements for Jonas Borntrager, Pulaski Township, ($36 increase), Dawn Meyer, Little Falls, ($198 decrease) and Nathan and Stacy Carper, Pierz Township, ($220 decrease);

•Voting to reduce tipping fees for petroleum contaminated soils. For the first 200 tons, the fee will now be $35 per ton and $65 per ton for any weight over that;

•Approving a license for Grant Dirkes, the new owner of the Time Out Bar and Grill in Upsala, formerly Molly’s On Main;

•Approving a one-day liquor license for Habitat For Humanity of Morrison County for Oct. 10 at the Falls Ballroom;

•Appointing Commissioner Duane Johnson to the steering committee of the Morrison County Drug Court; and

•Passing a resolution to request MnDOT investigate creating a speed zone in Sobieski due to increased traffic volume.

The next County Commissioners planning meeting will be held at the Morrison County Government Center at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.