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6 things to know about Olmsted County’s proposed 2019 budget

November 16, 2018

Olmsted County commissioners are taking a closer look at the proposed 2019 budget this week.

Here are a few things to know about the county’s budget recommendations:

1 The proposed budget has an $18 million increase in spending.

The proposed $221 million county budget anticipates nearly $112 million in non-levy revenue, as well as spending $6.6 million from reserve funds, leaving a property tax levy requirement of approximately $103 million.

If the commissioners approves the proposed $4.8 million levy increase next month, it will be a 4.9 percent increase over the total property taxes collected this year.

2 Proposed spending includes a $574,422 increase to hire approximately 16 new staff members.

The increase for 2019 is a portion of what would be spent in future years for the same staff members, since the new employees would be hired in the middle of the year. Future salary and benefits expenses would hit approximately $980,000.

County Board Chairwoman Shelia Kiscaden said the entire increased expense would not fall on the county levy, since some employees would be paid through generated county revenue and others would be supported through increased state funds related to the work being done.

3 The estimated levy expense is $674 per county resident.

Using the 2016 county population, Wilfredo Roman-Catala, the county’s chief financial officer, said Olmsted County’s proposed property tax levy ranks 52 out the 87 counties in the state on a per capita basis.

While the levy amount has increased over the years, Roman-Catala said, the impact adjusted for inflation and population has remained steady.

4 Property taxes provide the biggest chunk of county revenue.

Roman-Catala said 47 percent of the county’s expected revenue will come from property taxes.

Funding from other government agencies is the next-largest revenue source, with 25 percent of the county’s incoming funds in that category.

5 Staff expenses are the biggest portion of the budget.

Approximately 44 percent of the county’s expenses are related to staffing the various departments.

When spending is divided by division, 43 percent is used for Health, Housing and Human Services, with 34 percent for Public Safety and Justice, 13 percent for General Government and 10 percent for Physical Development.

6 You can voice an opinion next month.

The county board has scheduled its annual truth-in-taxation meeting for 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in board chambers of the city-county Government Center.

The meeting includes a public-comment period.

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