Growth lets county officials cut away at mills taxed in 2013Stutsman County officials continue to whittle away at the tentative 2013 budget, having already trimmed a projected 5-mill increase into a projected 2.24-mill decrease.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Stutsman County officials continue to whittle away at the tentative 2013 budget, having already trimmed a projected 5-mill increase into a projected 2.24-mill decrease.
Because of an increase in the value of a mill in Stutsman County, however, the dollar amount of the budget has still gone up, from $7.26 million last year to $7.75 million this year.
“We’re bringing in 5 percent more tax dollars than we would have brought in last year,” said Casey Bradley, the county’s auditor/chief operating officer.
A number of factors impact property taxes, but if the value of a person’s house remains the same, the decrease in mills will mean the person will see a slight decrease in property taxes.
Agricultural land values increased in the past year, which will mean a likely increase in agricultural land property taxes, even with the reduction in mills, Bradley explained.
The 2011 taxable value of land in Stutsman County, used to calculate 2012 property taxes, was $66,743,031, meaning that a mill that year was $66,743.
The 2012 taxable value, used to determine 2013 property taxes, was $72,731,844, meaning that a mill for 2013 will be $72,731.
Some of the taxation value increase was due to new tax value from business building and expansion, and other sources. That $588,000 of new tax value will generate $66,000 in revenue for Stutsman County, Bradley said.
The mill levy will go down 2 percent, from 114.43 mills to 112.19 mills, but the county’s planned budget is still increasing by $496,262.
That number includes levies for organizations that are set by boards other than the Stutsman County Commission, such as the Jamestown Regional Airport and the Central Valley Health District.
A number of factors have prompted the county to increase its budget:
* an increase in costs for highway projects, particularly in the cost of fuel. The fuel budget for the Stutsman County Highway Department is set at $370,000 next year. The Highway Department’s budget will increase by $210,000 for 2013.
* an increase in the cost of employee benefits, including health insurance and retirement.
The increase in retirement benefits is set by the N.D. Legislature, Bradley said.
* an increase in pay for Social Services personnel, who are paid by the county but whose salaries must be within bounds set by the state. A study recently showed the county’s pay rates for some positions in the department were too low, and they have been increased accordingly by a total of $60,000 department-wide.
* a grant to the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office for its drug task force, which was cut by the state.
“Every year they’ve been cutting us,” said Sheriff Chad Kaiser.
The county opted to pay an additional $10,000 to continue funding the position.
Kaiser noted that after a lull in which the meth craze slowed down, drug use has risen again, with more abuse of prescription drugs and chemically manufactured drugs nicknamed “bath salts.”
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at