May 25, 2024

Increase of 2.9% in preliminary levy for the upcoming year

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Jacob Sias
Grant County Herald

County Auditor Chad Van Santen presented the preliminary levy and budget for 2024 at a meeting of the County Commissioners on September 19. The preliminary levy was set at $8,319,535, an increase of 2.9% from the certified levy for 2023, which was $8,077,535.

Initially, the proposed levy for the upcoming year was slated to increase by only 0.74%, totaling $8,137,776. However, Commissioner Ken Johnson introduced a motion to adjust this figure upward. Johnson’s rationale was to account for possible unknown expenditures that may arise in the future. Despite opposition from Commissioner Troy Johnson, the motion passed.

Ken Johnson clarified that the nature of a preliminary levy allows for downward adjustment before finalization but prohibits any increases. “This is a safe preliminary,” he stated, indicating his expectation that the final figure may be lower than the preliminary one.

Public sentiment has expressed concern about the financial impact of the new Law Enforcement Center (LEC). Some feared that the facility would significantly increase the county’s tax burden. However, according to the data presented, budgeted spending decreases and expected incoming revenue have offset the financial impact of the LEC.

The decision to set a higher preliminary levy has elicited various opinions. While some see the move as a prudent measure to cushion against unforeseen expenses, others question its immediate impact on taxpayers. Ken Johnson’s expectation that the levy will likely be reduced before finalization leaves room for further discussion and public input.

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