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Dave Olson, Published January 05 2011

Clay County tightens its belt

Clay County has set aside $375,910 to cover possible cuts in state aid to local governments in the coming year, Clay County Commissioner Kevin Campbell said Tuesday in his State of the County address.

The county took a number of steps in 2010 to deal with

$1.45 million in cuts in various state aids last year, Campbell said, including cutting more than $545,000 from county departments and instituting a voluntary furlough program that will continue in 2011.

Campbell also said no cost-of-living adjustments were granted in 2010, except for employees in bargaining units where compensation amounts were already set by contract.

Campbell, who passed his title of commission chairman to fellow commissioner Jon Evert on Tuesday, outlined several other austerity measures the county is following, including housing county inmates in other jails rather than pursuing a project to build a new jail, which has been estimated to cost $22.87 million.

The price of housing inmates elsewhere in 2011 is expected to be about $210,000, which Campbell said is “significantly” less than what debt service would be on a new jail.

Campbell’s address high-lighted some of the highway projects completed in 2010, including a concrete overlay on eight miles of Highway 52 from Highway 21 to County Road 67.

He said projects planned for this year include:

- Construction of a roundabout on Highway 75 south of Moorhead at a cost of about $775,000.

- Replacement of a bridge over the Buffalo River just north of Glyndon at an estimated cost of $850,000.

- Urban street reconstruction from Highway 9 in Barnesville to the Wilkin County line, estimated cost: $3.5 million.

Campbell noted the hiring of Brian Berg as the county’s new administrator, replacing Vijay Sethi, who retired in 2010.

“We are confident Mr. Berg will serve Clay County well,” Campbell said.

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