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Hubbard County auditor reviews budget, levy at hearing

In September, the Hubbard County Board approved a preliminary payable 2021 levy of $15,920,000, a 3 percent increase over the 2020 final levy of $15,450,00.

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County commissioners will continue to fine-tune the 2021 budget over the next few weeks. The final levy will be set at their Dec. 15 meeting.

Proposed budget

In September, the Hubbard County Board approved a preliminary payable 2021 levy of $15,920,000. That’s an $470,000, or 3 percent, increase over the 2020 final levy of $15,450,00.

The 2021 budget anticipates $39,372,434 in total revenue, with $42,861,376 in total expenditures. That breaks down as follows:

  • General fund revenue comprises $15,448,145 of the proposed budget, with expenses of $15,331,028.

  • Road and bridge fund revenue is estimated at $11,052,700 with $12,487,841 in expenditures.

  • Revenue for Social Services is calculated at $7,017,054, with $8,897,879 in expenses.

  • The solid waste fund projects $4,027,115 in revenues and $4,242,181 in expenses.

  • Tax-forfeited land revenue is estimated at $1,827,420, with $1,902,447 in expenditures.

The board reduced the preliminary Housing & Redevelopment Authority levy from $170,000 to $140,000.
Hubbard County Auditor/Treasurer Kay Rave says overall revenues decreased 3.3 percent compared to last year because of COVID-19. “We’re providing somewhat less service. We’re bringing in less revenue. Also we’re expecting decreased revenues in federal and state funds as well,” she said.

There are salary and wage increases in the proposed 2021 budget, including new county positions and a projected 2.5 percent cost of living increase.

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Rave said overall expenditures increased .007 percent compared to last year. She noted there was a decrease in education and travel expenses due to the pandemic. General fund expenditures decreased $853,649 (5.3 percent) from the 2020 budget.

Tax capacity rates

Rave provided a chart of tax capacity rates for each township, school district and city, plus countywide.

“Almost across the board there are vast decreases in the proposed rates,” she said.

The tax capacity rate is determined annually by the county auditor. This rate is a result of the property tax levy submitted by the taxing authority (school district, county, city, township, etc.) being divided by the overall total tax capacity value for that jurisdiction.

The proposed 2021 Hubbard County rate is 40.805 percent. Last year, it was 42.084 percent. Neighboring county tax capacity rates are 30.455 percent in Cass, 49.17 percent in Aitken, 64.44 percent in Todd.

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Levies in similarly sized counties

Rave also compared Hubbard County’s proposed 2021 levy with other counties with roughly a 20,000 population: Martin ($17,670,184), Dodge ($15,347,854), Wabasha ($15,489,448) and Todd ($16,965,249). She added Cass ($23,870,310) because it is the largest neighbor (population 28,718).

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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