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Cass County Board: Tax levy and elected officials salaries set for 2022

The board approved the proposed tax levy with an increase of 2.99% over the 2021 levy, for a total levy amount of $24,111,891. The final levy was reduced by 2.74% by using the 2020 operating surplus, salary vacancies, unused 2021 levy dollars and additional property tax relief from local options sales tax.

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Cass County Courthouse

BACKUS — Cass County officials approved the tax levy and set pay rates for board members and elected officials for 2022.

County Administrator Josh Stevenson asked the Cass County Board to approve a 2022 annual salary of $29,248 at the Tuesday, Dec. 21, board meeting.

The per diem payment is to remain the same as prior years at $75 per day for attendance at approved meetings. The board-appointed citizen committee per diem rate will also remain the same as 2021 at $75 per day. Due to the average meeting and field visit time for the planning commission regular monthly meetings, Stevenson recommended a per diem of $150 per day, with all other meetings being $75 per day.

Salaries for the elected officials County Attorney Ben Lindstrom, Sheriff Tom Burch and County Recorder Katie Norby were also approved. They will all receive a 3% increase Jan. 1, putting Lindstrom at $130,956.80 per year, Burch at $123,448 per year and Norby at $86,590.40 per year. Lindstrom will also receive an additional 3% increase July 1 when he moves from Step 8 to Step 9 on the county pay scale.

Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane also presented the 2022 property tax levy by fund; revenues and expenditures by fund; unorganized levy, revenues and expenditures; equipment list by fund; fee schedule; published budget and the 2021 indirect cost transfers.

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The board approved the proposed tax levy with an increase of 2.99% over the 2021 levy, for a total levy amount of $24,111,891. The final levy was reduced by 2.74% by using the 2020 operating surplus, salary vacancies, unused 2021 levy dollars and additional property tax relief from local options sales tax.

The approved Cass 2022 budget, including state, federal and other revenues, calls for $70,746,455 in revenue and $71,176,255 in expenditures. The departments requesting higher expenditures than revenues were for general revenue; road and bridge and capital projects. The board also approved a levy in the amount of $245,000 and a revenue budget and expenditure budget in the amount of $300,000 each for the Unorganized Townships.

The board approved the annual new equipment purchase list, totaling $2,265,019 and the 2022 updated fee schedule. The new equipment purchase list includes computer equipment and software, office furniture, vehicles and equipment maintenance agreements.

In other business, the county board:

Adopted a resolution authorizing the county administrator to execute all necessary documents to ensure county participation in the multistate settlements relating to opioid distributors and manufactures and in the Minnesota opioids state-subdivision memorandum of agreement, and declaring support for an amendment to state statute with the settlement to be paid out over the next 18 years.

Established a committee, with commissioners Jeff Peterson and Bob Kangas volunteering, to bring a recommendation to the full board on the appointment of a new land commissioner due to a retirement.

Received and filed the 2021 Cass County Economic Development Corporation annual report from Mike Paulus, executive director. Paulus said one of the challenges employers are facing is not being able to find employees, but did state 2021 was a record-breaking year for capital raised in Cass County.

Approved CivicPlus to perform a website redesign and maintenance services for four years in the amount of $40,531, which will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act grant.

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Approved the registration and name change for Cass County’s website from co.cass.mn.us to casscountymn.gov as required by some federal agencies. This change will be done in conjunction with the website upgrade.

Heard a report from Kris Lyytinen with the road and maintenance department on completed projects during 2021.

The next meetings are as follows: Commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4, at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker; and commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the land department meeting room in Backus.

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