Budget increase of 4.31 mills approved TuesdayThe Stutsman County Commission gave approval Tuesday to a 2010 budget that includes an increase of 4.31 mills during a special budget meeting. The budget will be finalized after a formal budget hearing at the commission’s October meeting.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Stutsman County Commission gave approval Tuesday to a 2010 budget that includes an increase of 4.31 mills during a special budget meeting. The budget will be finalized after a formal budget hearing at the commission’s October meeting.
The increase in the county portion of property taxes marks a reversal in a three-year trend for lower county-levied taxes. The county tax levy in 2005 was 111.4 mills but dropped to 109.74 mills in 2006, 108.96 mills in 2007 and 108.6 mills in 2008. The 2009 levy will be 112.91 mills.
“A mill is worth about $60,000 in total revenue to the county,” said Noel Johnson, chief operating officer of the county. “The 4.31-mill increase will add about $20 in taxes to a $100,000 home or about $10 in taxes to a quarter of land.”
Johnson defined a mill as one-tenth of a percent of the taxable value of a property. Taxable value is defined as 4.5 percent of the market value of residential property or 5 percent of the market value of commercial or agricultural property.
The budget includes a step pay increase for all entitled county employees and the county absorbing the additional costs in health insurance. The step pay increase amounts to a 2 percent raise to all employees who have satisfactory job reviews and who have not been employed by the county long enough to reach the top of the pay scale. The county employees’ group had asked for those items as well as a 2.5 percent cost-of- living increase.
The cost of employee health insurance for the county will be about $300,000 higher at $1.3 million in 2010. The increase amounts to $270 per month for family coverage and $135 per month for single coverage. The county withholds $200 per month from employees with family coverage.
During the commission’s regular September meeting it approved a motion of intent to join the National Flood Insurance Program. A flood damage prevention ordinance, as well as an application form for the program, will be prepared for the commission at a future meeting.
Participation by the county is required for rural residents to purchase flood insurance. NFIP is purchased by property owners or renters from their regular property insurance agent.
“Because Stutsman County has no flood plain map residents can purchase coverage at the lowest rate,” said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager. “It is another level of bureaucracy and no one likes to see that but we just need to do it.”
The county also approved allowing non-county employees to load gravel from the county’s pits onto trucks operated by private contractors for regular road maintenance. The commission had earlier approved allowing contractors to load their own trucks with county gravel for Federal Emergency Management Agency projects. In some cases townships were asking contractors to do routine gravel work at the same time they were doing FEMA -approved projects.
During the Stutsman County Park Board meeting the board learned of a $200,000 grant for repairs to park buildings damaged by the spring floods. The grant requires a local match of $200,000 which the county approved transferring from reserves.
A committee of Park Board members will explore options and costs for repairs at Lakeside Marina and Pelican Point. Buildings at both locations will be located above the high water mark of this spring.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com