12/21/2018 2:32:00 PM Commissioners approve 2019 levy increase of 1.23 percent
MONICA LUNDQUIST Cass County Correspondent
WALKER-Cass County Board voted Tuesday, Dec. 18, to adopt the 2019 county levy at 1.023 percent more than the 2018 levy or $22,027,913. That is $223,053 more dollars.
Cass' 30.918 tax rate remains the lowest among area counties.
The board set the Longville Ambulance Service District's levy at $503,000 and the Unorganized Township levy at $245,000. Both remain the same as 2018.
Cass' 2019 budget approved Tuesday anticipates the county will receive a total from the levy and other funding sources of $59,449,100 and will spend a total of $59,197,058.
County commissioners will be paid a $26,766.73 salary in 2019. They attend the first regular monthly board meeting, the board of auditors, board of equalization and canvassing board without additional pay.
For the second monthly meeting and any other meetings where commissioners represent the board or are assigned by the board, they may collect a per diem of $75. If they are required to attend by a law, they also may collect a per diem.
The board set the same per diem for citizens appointed to county committees, but in 2019 will increase the per diem paid to the planning commission for its regular meetings and for site inspection meetings, because those run longer than other committees.
Planning commissioners will be paid $150 per regular meeting or on-the-site inspection day. For other work or training meetings, they will receive $75 per day.
The board's salary and those of other elected officials represents a 2.5 percent raise over 2018, which is the same percentage as the county agreed earlier to pay union and non-union employees for 2019.
Sheriff Tom Burch will be paid $112,964.80 and County Recorder Katie Norby, $79,227.20. Both are at the top of the county's 10-step pay scale for the grade for their elected offices. These raises also are a 2.5 percent increase.
The board granted a market adjustment equal to about two step increases in addition to the 2.5 percent raise for County Attorney Ben Lindstrom. He has been paid less than attorneys in surrounding counties, County Administrator Joshua Stevenson said.
His pay effective Jan. 1, 2019, will be $109,678.40. Because he has not served in his present position 10 years, he will be eligible for a step increase July 1, 2019, to $112,964.80.
The board approved a $2,134,174 new equipment list that includes setting aside $600,600 toward a five-year capital improvement plan.
Most of the purchases involve new county vehicles for some departments and computer and office furniture replacements. It allows for the highway department to buy a new tandem truck with plow, a motor grader with plow and mower-tractor combination. Each of these cost well over $100,000.
The board approved agreements for services with the following:
University of Minnesota Extension for the county to pay $105,984 for a 4-H program coordinator and 0.55 time administrative specialist in 2019, $108,100 in 2020 and $110,257 in 2021. This represents a 2.2 percent increase for 2019 and 2 percent in 2010 and 2021.
Attorney Franz Vancura to conduct appeal hearings to the county's declaration of a dangerous dog at a rate of $150 per hour, plus mileage and related expenses approved in advance by the county administrator.
This is the same contract rate as prior years. He generally conducts two to six hearings per year on an as-needed basis, according to Stevenson.
Terry Freeman to continue as county surveyor at a rate of $85 per hour, not to exceed $36,000 in 2019.
Dr. Michael McGee or his staff designees, as Cass County medical examiner at a rate of $2,000 per complete forensic autopsy with toxicology per service or $1,000 for external examination with toxicology per service. Court services are billed at $300 per hour.
Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.