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Crow Wing County levy reduction 1 of only 2 in state

Crow Wing is in lonely company among the 87 Minnesota counties. Data released by the Association of Minnesota Counties shows the county is one of only two in the state to reduce its 2015 property tax levy, along with Benton County. County adminis...

Crow Wing is in lonely company among the 87 Minnesota counties.

Data released by the Association of Minnesota Counties shows the county is one of only two in the state to reduce its 2015 property tax levy, along with Benton County.

County administrator Tim Houle shared the report with the county board at its meeting Tuesday. Houle said he called the administrator for Benton County and learned the 3.3 percent decrease in their levy was related to paying off debt. Crow Wing County's levy was brought down by .57 percent because of a reduction in operating costs.

"Crow Wing County is the only county in the state of Minnesota to reduce operating costs," Houle said.

Seven other counties approved levies with no increase or decrease and numbers were not available for three others. Because the levies are preliminary, it's possible others could make reductions prior to certification in December.

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Among surrounding counties, Cass posted the most modest increase, .69 percent. Morrison and Aitkin counties increased their levies by 2.28 and 2.3 percent respectively, Wadena by 3.49 percent and Todd County raised the levy by 7.27 percent.

"Can we send a copy of this to the school board and maybe the city of Brainerd?" Commissioner Paul Koering said.

The Brainerd School District approved a preliminary increase of 12.1 percent, while the city of Brainerd tacked on an additional 10 percent.

In other business, the board:

Approved the replacement of two technical administrative specialist positions in community services.

Approved the hiring of Michael Marshik, technical support intern in information technology, and Alisha Isom, technical administrative specialist in community services.

Accepted the departures of Jenny Cluff, technical administrative specialist in the sheriff's office, and Tiffani Kaikkonen and Stacey Harsha, technical administrative specialists in community services.

Approved the sale of property in Becker County for $70,000. Crow Wing County has a claim for medical assistance provided to the deceased property owner totaling $371,230. The property was the only asset of the individual.

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Adopted a resolution authorizing Tim Bray, county engineer, to sign a bridge bonding agreement as the fiscal agent for the city of Nisswa. The state is granting Nisswa $96,146 toward the replacement of the Lower Cullen Road bridge as part of its Local Bridge Replacement Program. The county will not incur costs beyond administrative.

Authorized a grant agreement with the Minnesota Historical Society for architectural improvements to the Crow Wing County Historical Society.

Approved a vending agreement with State Services for the Blind through Aug. 2019 to provide vending services in county buildings. Services for the Blind has been providing vending services in county buildings since 1989.

Removed a parcel from Little Pine Memorial Forest. The tax forfeit parcel will be included in the fall land sale.

Heard of a change to the First and Second Assessment District's road maintenance contract. The contractor will begin working Dec.1 instead of Nov. 1.

Took a tour of the county landfill following its regular meeting.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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