MARSHALL - There was only a small audience gathered at the Lyon County Government Center on Thursday night, as county officials went through the proposed county budget and property tax levy during a public hearing. The proposed county levy remained frozen at the same level as 2008, but some individual budget items had changed from 2012.
The proposed 2013 tax levy is $12.1 million. Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said the levy dollars go toward three main areas of the county budget: the county's general fund, roads and bridges, and debt service. The general fund includes items ranging from government operating costs to county parks, environmental services and law enforcement.
Stomberg also briefly went through the budgeted revenue and expenses for each county department. Some departments would have budget increases in 2013 because of rising costs, he said. In the court administration department, the budget was proposed to increase by $50,000 to $130,000 as more court costs were being passed on to counties by the state of Minnesota. Stomberg said rising labor costs contributed to a $95,000 increase in the county sheriff's budget, a 5.1 percent rise over 2012.
On the other hand, some department budgets showed a sharp decrease because of reorganization of county finances. Stomberg said the county was consolidating its fairgrounds and parks budgets into a single budget item.
Lyon County Assessor Dean Champine was present to answer residents' questions about their tax statements. Champine said there were many factors that could affect an individual property's tax assessment. Stomberg acknowledged that currently, property values are putting more of the county tax burden on agricultural land, rather than residential property.
Stomberg said the county is required to announce when it will consider approving the budget and levy. The issue will come before the county board at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 18 at the Lyon County Board's regular meeting.