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Dave Olson, Published December 16 2009

Clay County passes budget; includes 2010 tax increase

The Clay County Commission on Tuesday approved a final budget for 2010 that anticipates spending $59.7 million and raising $23.2 million through the local property tax, the latter reflecting a 3.8 percent increase over the previous year.

Because of new growth and development, the county’s tax base is broader than last year’s, so residential property owners will actually see the county portion of their property tax drop in 2010.

For the owner of a Moorhead residence valued at $150,000, the drop in the county portion of property taxes is expected to be $47.

For homes in Barnesville, Dilworth and Oakport Township with the same value, the drop will be closer to $51.

Clay County Administrator Vijay Sethi said much of the levy increase was necessary to make up for cuts in state aid. County department heads are reviewing where cuts can be made in the coming year if the governor announces new unallotments, he said.

In other business, commissioners approved their 2010 compensation, which is unchanged from 2009.

The salary for Jon Evert, Wayne Ingersoll and Grant Weyland will remain at $25,701.

The pay for Jerry Waller and Kevin Campbell will be $25,223. It is less because they chose several years ago to skip a raise, a decision they reaffirmed Tuesday.

Evert said it bothered him that his colleagues received lower salaries, to which Campbell replied, “It shouldn’t bother you, because it doesn’t bother me.”

Waller said given the economic situation many taxpayers are facing, he didn’t plan to change his mind regarding his pay.

Also Tuesday, the commission postponed a decision on increasing fares for Clay County Rural Transit.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555