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Cass County Board: 1 resident speaks at truth in taxation hearing

WALKER—Ben Thuringer from Madden's on Gull Lake was the only resident to attend Cass County's truth in taxation public hearing Thursday on the county's proposed 2018 budget and levy.

He noted the resort's taxes again are proposed to rise, though it appears much of this year's increase will be due to school district taxes. He also visited with assessor Mark Peterson about the property's valuation.

The county commissioners unanimously passed a resolution following the hearing to schedule their vote to adopt a final levy and budget for 2018 at their 9 a.m. meeting Dec. 19 at the courthouse in Walker.

Cass County begins its budget process in July each year for the following year.

The county has established a budget committee whereby each county commissioner appoints one constituent from their district as a voting member, and two county commissioners are delegated to the committee for a total of seven voting members.

The county administrator, the chief financial officer, auditor/treasurer and assessor are also present at meetings to support the agenda. All budget committee meetings are open to the public.

The budget committee is charged with the responsibility of recommending a preliminary levy and final levy to the county commissioners within the state-established deadlines.

The preliminary levy is required to be certified by Sept. 30. Cass County commissioners certified the 2018 preliminary levy Sept. 5 at a 2.49 percent increase over the 2017 final levy.

For the 2018 budget cycle, there were four budget committee meetings after initial departmental requests were received for the county. The committee listened to various departments recap their successes, future goals and areas where savings could be achieved.

The preliminary levy is the basis for truth in taxation statements required to be sent out to each property owner by Nov. 24 this year. The truth In taxation notices were sent to property owners beginning Nov. 20.

The budget committee meetings resulted in the committee recommending to the commissioners a final levy to remain the same as the preliminary one, at a 2.49 percent increase over 2017 final levy. This proposed final levy includes $170,000 for capital projects.

The county board expects to approve that 2.49 percent increase for 2018 at the Dec. 19 meeting and to levy for $22,307,860.