Isanti County approves 0 percent change in levy

Isanti County residents will not see an increase in the county portion of their property taxes in 2013.

Commissioners voted to approve a 0 percent increase for the proposed 2013 levy at the County Board meeting Sept. 5.

The proposed gross levy is about $17 million, with $1.6 million coming from county program aid from the state.

After the proposed levy is approved, it cannot be increased. The final budget and levy will be approved at the Truth in Taxation meeting, set for Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

The county’s proposed 2013 budget expenses are about $35.1 million, a 3.5 percent decrease from 2012.

The county had budgeted for a 15 percent increase to health insurance costs, however, the increase came in at 4 percent, resulting in a savings of about $200,000 for the county.

The 0 percent levy increase passed unanimously, but Commissioners George Larson and Susan Morris were in favor of an increase in the 2013 levy.

Commissioners vote to increase
funding of library system

Commissioner George Larson brought up the possibility of increasing the county’s funding of the library system.

The Cambridge Public Library is part of the East Central Regional Library System that includes Aiktin, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Pine counties.

Due to the reduction in county funding this year, open hours at Cambridge Public Library were cut from 57 hours to 43 hours per week.

Friends of the Library groups came together to raise funds to allow the library to remain open on Saturdays.

Although the donated funds enabled the library to remain open Saturdays over the summer, the reduction of total hours which began in late February 2012 will continue through the end of the year.

“I’ve never had more of a reaction from the public than I have on this,” Commissioner Larson said. “People are very interested in having us return to our 2011 funding level.”

He said he fully supports returning to that funding level.

“I think this is something we’ve always supported and we’ve always been a leader on stuff like this and I think we should restore it,” Larson said. “If other counties (in the East Central Regional Library System) cut back, then we’ll go along with the flow.”

After discussion, a motion passed to increase the county’s contribution to the ECRL budget to its 2011 level, with the possibility of cutting the funding if other counties in the library system move in that direction.

 

In other action, the board:

• Approved a bid of $11,800 by Dewitt Contracting for the Springvale Interpretive Shelter roofing.

• Approved a Crime Victim Services Grant of $45,000.

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