Commissioners nix tax hike

Marion County commission voted 3-0 Monday to not take a two-mill increase in county budget next year for increased graveling of rain-deluged roads because budget considerations reveal the money is already going to be there.

The commissioners agreed in discussions with consultant Scot Loyd to work on leaving the mill levy the same as it was for this year.

The two-mill increase would have amounted to about $246,000 for road rock.

Loyd said an already calculated $2 million increase in the county?s valuation over last year will increase tax funds $140,000.

Plus, Loyd said, more than adequate funds have been set aside from a decades old fund meant to sustain budgeting during a legal action at the time. In addition, oil and gas depletion funds can be spent, plus funds from the county?s $750,000 general fund that commissioners can allocate according to need.

In making the motion to not take a mill increase, Commissioner Randy Dallke said Loyd?s figures convinced him he was wrong even in suggesting a one-mill increase instead of two mills.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub came in at the first of the discussion saying he couldn?t support any levy increase until he saw whether Federal Emergency Management Agency fund already coming to the county for expenses because road flood damage this year might cover road gravelling.

Commission Lori Lalouette said if there are funds to use without increasing taxes then she favors it.

The commissioners approved reimbursing Mike Beneke $500 for road gravel he has applied to 280th Road past where he lives in the interest of safety for motorists using the road.

Holub said the commissioners would have no problem with residents in other parts of the county applying rock to roads in the interest of public safety.

The commissioners said members of the public incur no liability in making such applications.

The commissioners met more than an hour of executive sessions for legal considerations and personnel for various lengths of time with Road and Bridge Superin?tendent Randy Crawford and Bruce Boettcher of BG Consultants, with County Attorney Susan Robson and emergency management personnel, with Sheriff Rob Craft, and with Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene.

In consideration of new truck bids with budget limitations for the weed department, the commissioners directed Noxious Weeds, Household Hazardous Wastes, Transfer Station and Recycling Director Bud Druse to check used prices for a weed department truck.

Druse reported 590.76 tons of waste collected for July at a cost of $39.83 per ton for fuel, driver and tipping fees with $16,282.56 in tipping fees for the month and $118,450.43 for the year.

He said recycling waste for July included 5.24 tons from Goessel, 0.6 ton from Tampa, 1.15 tons from Durham, 1.22 tons from Florence, 0.75 ton from Burns, 0.94 ton from Centre, and 12.88 tons from Marion.