Kreklau: Hard to swallow a more than $1 million increase to levy
Murlyn Kreklau is a Wadena County Commissioner from District 4
At the 9-6-22 commissioner meeting, an initial levy for the year 2023 was presented. It was for a 10.74 % increase of over $1,000,000. It was due to the fact that all employees received new three-year contracts with a minimum of a 6% increase and an increase in the Human Services budget of 28%. We by law must pass a preliminary budget at our 9-20-22 meeting. We can't spend more than that , but can lower it in our final budget later this fall.
I did vote against it Tuesday. Not because of any illusions that we can somehow dramatically lower it, but because it is not complete. We are waiting on two labor contracts and a health insurance increase, which at this point we can only estimate. So it is likely that the final numbers of total budget spending, and the levy that goes with it, will go up by September 20. I believe it is important to provide complete TRANSPARENCY, so that everyone realizes the situation that has been created by the State of Minnesota primarily, with more mandates than money provided to implement them.
On the positive side, Wadena County had $20 million of new construction and $35 million of pipeline added to tax rolls for 2023, which should help. But that does not begin to minimize the effects of the increased levy. The end effects of this levy, along with the dramatic valuation increases (also set by the State) this year, are hard to predict at this point.