2013 county budget slashed by $9 million

Carver County Board of Commissioners approved the 2013 Levy and Budget and the 2014 Long-Term Financial Plan at its Dec. 11 meeting.

The $88.5 million 2013 budget is nearly $9 million less than the 2012 budget and will reduce the county’s portion of property taxes on average-value homes. The new budget calls for budget cuts to address increased operating costs and capturing new construction tax base to help fund capital projects.

“This budget is based on anticipating a half-million dollars in increased operating costs in 2013 and offsetting those costs with budget cuts and new revenue,” said Board Chair James Ische. “It also captures an estimated $850,000 in new construction taxes, which will be used entirely for capital projects.”

The budget decrease from the previous year reflects a decrease in capital outlay expenditures from approximately $21 million to $12 million. This decrease is due to the completion of 2012 Road and Bridge projects that were funded by one-time turnback funds from the state, federal grants, and unspent funds from a 2008 bond issue. It includes a decrease of approximately $4.4 million in revenue from other governmental units at the federal, state and local level.

The board also approved the 2014 and Beyond Long-Term Financial Plan that focuses on areas that significantly impact future property tax levy and budgets. These include capital projects, facility, vehicle and equipment replacement costs, bond sales and debt services, and increased operating costs. The five-year plan outlines how new capital projects are expected to be funded without increasing the tax levy impact on the county’s average-value home.

“Along with the annual budget, the Long-Range Financial Plan helps the staff and the County Board connect financial strategies to achieve short-term and long-term goals and objectives,” Ische said. “It offers a long-term perspective on issues facing the county and a way to systematically bring new elements into the annual budget process. Having this type of long-term planning process is one of the reasons our county continues to have a AAA bond rating.”

The Long-Term Financial Plan and the Administrator’s Message on the 2013 Budget can be viewed on the county website at www.co.carver.mn.us/department/finance/index.asp. The 2013 Fee Schedule is also available on the Financial Services Division webpage.