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Board to consider 2020 tax levy Tuesday

Proposal is 4.9 percent hike

NEW ULM — Brown County Commissioners will establish the 2020 proposed property tax levy on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

For discussion purposes considering the Sept. 6, 2019 draft of the 2020 county budget, the $13,906, preliminary levy represents a 4.9 percent increase over the total 2019 certified levy and is based on a $39,184,145 draft 2020 county budget.

The average levy increase over the past five years is 3.25 percent annually based on final levy increases. For the current draft county budget, $225,000 is the contingency line item, subject to final certification of the county board in December.

The final budget and levy is suggested to be adopted by the board on Dec. 17. That amount may be equal to or lower but not higher than the 2020 proposed property tax levy approved on Sept. 17.

Commissioners will also consider:

• Drainage system assessments for 2020 to ensure adequate funding for future repairs including $23,000 for CD 33; $14,000 for CD 28; $10,000 each for JD 12 B&R and CD 2;; $6,000 each for CD 8, JD 36 B & BE, Main B CD 24 and JD 48 BE&B&W; $19,000 for JD 14 B&W; $30,000 for CD 18; and $78,000 for JD 29 B&R.

Billings will be mailed by month end so landowners can conveniently pay at the same time taxes are due in November.

A large repair is being considered for CD1 that will also require an assessment. A landowner meeting is being scheduled to give landowners options When a plan is established, an assessment will be billed. The cost of the repair is to be determined, but is predicted to be more than $80,000.

Several systems have some large repairs pending. Assessments were just billed in 2019 due to re-determination of benefits, so Brown County Auditor-Treasurer Jean Prochniak proposes waiting a year before billing for another assessment.

• A resolution to transfer property transfers and certifications from the Auditor-Treasurer’s (A-T) office to the Recorder. In an effort to create more efficiency in the county, the AT and Recorder have teamed up to streamline the property transfer process. In addition, the A-T will be able to dedicate more time to create increased efficiencies at the license center and prepare for the 2020 election process.

• Authorizing the purchase of a $33,333.99 drone from Frontier Precision to be paid for and used jointly by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and the Brown County Highway Department. The highway department would like to use reserves for its portion of the purchase and reimburse the reserves for the $20,000 that is tentatively budgeted for 2020.

Buying the drone now will allow the highway department to measure stock piles this fall, video some drainage ditches this year and be available for sheriff’s office emergencies if needed.

• After the meeting that starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the courthouse second-floor commissioner’s room, commissioners will tour tax forfeitures.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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