Nobles County sets preliminary levy at nearly $8.5 million
WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners set a preliminary, not-to-exceed levy of $8,493,818 for 2007 at a special board session Friday afternoon.
The preliminary levy marks a budget increase of 7.42 percent over the county's 2006 operating budget. Commissioners can lower the levy before final adoption in December.
County Administrator Mel Ruppert said an 8.6 percent growth in new construction throughout Nobles County within the last year helped keep the levy from being set higher. The new construction leads to the addition of more property tax dollars for the county to work with in planning its budget.
Ruppert identified two areas of the county's budget that took more work and more funding for 2007 -- human services and county roads.
Within the human services budget, Ruppert said out of home placement costs covered by the county have risen 70 percent in the last three years. In 2006, the county budgeted $558,000 for out of home placements, but Ruppert said the final cost at the end of the year is likely to be closer to $750,000 -- 16.5 percent over budget.
County Attorney Gordon Moore said one of the biggest out of home placement expenditures this year was for a juvenile arrested on charges of burglary who is detained at Kids Peace. Out of home placements can be court-ordered or requested by human services.
"Those (out of home placement costs) of course, are things we can't foresee or control," added Commissioner Diane Thier.
Ruppert said 1.6 positions will need to be cut in human services because of a lack of confirmed federal funding.
As for county road funding, commissioners put $230,000 into the budget for road improvements, representing a 3 percent increase in funding.
"People need to know that we will be spending the money on roads," said Commissioner David Benson.
Board chair Marv Zylstra commended commissioners for their diligence and the hours spent going over the budget line by line.