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Split Olmsted County Board passes planned levy increase

Three of seven commissioners would have preferred to use county reserves or federal funds to reduce the need for property tax dollars.

Olmsted County logo
Olmsted County logo

A split Olmsted County Board of Commissioners held tight with a 4.9% levy increase for 2022.

The total amount of anticipated property taxes collected will be $112.8 million, up from the $107.5 million collected this year and in 2020.

The commissioners voted 4-3 to approve the levy, which accounts for 41.85% of the county’s anticipated funding for next year.

Commissioners Matt Flynn, Ken Brown and Jim Bier opposed the increase without comment during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Last month, commissioners were presented with an option to use reserves or a portion of the county’s $30.7 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to cover $1.3 million of the county’s $281.9 million budget, which would reduce the required property levy increase from 4.9% to 3.62%.

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“We have plenty of money we could have used to lower the county levy,” Flynn said during a break in the meeting Tuesday.

The majority of commissioners cited lingering uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic and said they opted to keep reserves and federal funds available in case future budget needs arise.

While the larger levy split the board Tuesday, commissioners unanimously approved keeping the Housing and Redevelopment Authority levy at the state’s maximum rate of 0.0185%.

With increased property values, the unchanged rate will generate an extra $156,686 next year, to provide $3.9 million for county housing programs.

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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