County eyeing first tax levy hike in 4 years

Isanti County continues to look at a 6.48 percent increase to its property tax levy for 2014 to help offset a $16 million gap from projected dollars going out and coming in next year.

If certified at the next county board meeting, the $16,479,667 levy will mark the first increase in four years.

County Administrator Kevin VanHooser presented next year’s proposed budget and tax levy at a truth in taxation hearing Dec. 4 before the county board. He examined what has impacted the budget, among other factors, as the handful of residents in attendance mainly listened without much comment.

“We cannot keep drawing from our fund balance (reserves),” Commissioner George Larson said in September when the board approved the preliminary levy and budget on a 3-1 vote.

The final 2014 budget and levy will be approved at the next county board meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18.

A complete story on this issue will be published in next week’s Isanti County News.

Snowplows get it done

In response to the season’s first major snowfall, county highway engineer Richard Heilman informed the board that county snowplow drivers in nine plows worked a 14-hour day in clearing roads Wednesday.

Some of the major roadways were plowed twice, he said, and they were back at it by 5 a.m. Thursday.

Commissioners voiced their appreciation of the department’s work.