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County board approves prelim levy

By Jean Ruzicka

Hubbard County Commissioners have approved a preliminary levy of $13.5 million for 2016, reflecting an increase of 5.5 percent over this year’s $12.8 million.

Department heads had requested a total amount of $13.7 million, approximately $900,000 over this year’s levy, to which commissioners said “no.”

Commissioner Vern Massie had suggested setting the levy at $13.7 and subsequently paring it.

But board chair Dan Stacey expressed opposition to this. “We’d be setting a false pretense,” he said.

The agreed upon preliminary amount is a $261,929 decrease from the total requested, with the final levy likely to be further reduced, coordinator Deb Thompson predicts.

Requests for increased staff would total $417,000 for the new hires. A good portion of the amount stems from public safety requests for a second investigator for the sheriff’s department.

This would require an additional assistant county attorney and office assistant to handle the additional caseloads, auditor Kay Rave explained.

The levy amount includes funds for the jail building bond ($618,765), the regional library ($200,000) and courthouse construction costs.

The Housing and Redevelopment Authority levy is an additional $230,000.

Social Services has spent nearly $900,000 in reserve accounts this year, Matt Dotta said and will spend $1.1 million in 2016. “I think we need to look at building this up.”

Social Services 2016 proposed levy of $3.5 million is up $457,497, Thompson said.

The preliminary road and bridge levy is $3.15 million.

By fund, preliminarily, with adjustments to be made, general revenue is projected to receive $11,998,276 and spend $11,984,920; solid waste revenues are expected to be $3,221,112 with expenditures of $3,211,041, tax forfeited land, respectively, is $2,384,702 and $1,145,838; road and bridge $10,218,400 and $10,261,480 and Social Services $7,581,263 and $8,687,946.

The total preliminary 2016 budget is $35,403,753 in revenues and $35,291,226 in expenditures.