Isanti County Board responds to Twin Cities news story

The Isanti County Board of Commissioners is disappointed with the sensationalism and misleading information recently aired by KSTP television.

It was alleged that conducting a County Board meeting on Dec. 26 was “deceptive” and “gutless,” and that people were “blind-sided.”

This “year-end” meeting has historically taken place between Christmas and New Years Day. Its purpose is to conclude county business for the calendar year. This has been happening for 25 plus years in Isanti County. Similar meetings are held in each of the 87 counties in Minnesota.

In addition, this meeting was published in the official county newspaper on Nov. 14. Since the Board normally meets on Wednesdays, it chose Dec. 26 as the date for the year-end meeting.

The Isanti County Commissioner salaries have been flat from 2009 through 2012. Statutorily, if County Boards want to increase salaries or per diems, they must do so in the year prior to the one in which the increase takes effect. Again, counties typically do this in December. Incidentally, per diems for the year 2013 were not increased.

County Commissioners were criticized for not allowing the public to “weigh in” on the issue of salaries for county employees. This has not been the practice of Isanti County, nor should it be. The County Board interacts with six recognized bargaining units who do not wish to negotiate their contracts in public. Any amount budgeted for employee (including Commissioner) raises is not disclosed to the public during negotiations.

Contrary to the misleading report, the Isanti County Board held their 2012 year-end meeting according to established procedures and in line with applicable Statutes.

The Isanti County Commissioners have worked extremely hard on behalf of county taxpayers. The year 2013 will be the fourth in a row with a 0 percent levy increase. Per capita spending and per capita levies compare very favorably with those of all other counties in East Central Minnesota.

The Commissioners strive to provide our citizens the best value they can for their tax dollars.

If you would like further information, contact Kevin VanHooser at 763-689-3859 or email [email protected]