Overspending, levy, huge debt load
Yes, the new buildings are very nice, huge, meaning over-built, and luxurious. But remember, this was voted to do before I was elected to the County Board. Because of the overspending on the new Government Center and Justice Center and the bonding by the previous Board, Wright County has never seen such a huge bonding debt load like it has now. That means that the levy must be high enough to cover the everyday expenses and make the payments when they are due. My first experience with the County budget and setting the levy last year was quite a process. I worked very hard to keep that levy number low and will continue to do so.
Property tax assessments continue to increase. These numbers are figured by the State of Minnesota based on their magical equation no one seems to know. In April, we were all surprised by our estimated market values of our properties that were mailed to us. These are based on the sales of nearby properties and prices paid were well over their assessed valuations. As a result, because of this and the State’s equation, property taxes increased. The 2022 County estimated market value increased by about 20.6% with nearby Counties going even higher.
Local Option Sales tax (LOST)
I truly hate sales taxes because it is a tax that everyone must pay, low income, higher income, young, or old. This ½ cent sales tax funds are to be used only for roads and bridges designated on a list figured by the Highway Department and approved by the County Commissioners. What’s unfair is this tax is put on your phone bills, electric bills, natural gas, and other bills that are considered essential, but was never explained to the public. This idea of the sales tax also was sold to the public with the idea that people travelling through the County would help pay this tax. The funding from the sales tax was used mainly in the northeast part of the County. More of this funding should be used throughout the County. Everyone pays it and should benefit.
This year, this sales tax was up for renewal. I was against renewing the sales tax until I started talking to some of the businesses and people in the County. It was fairly evident that most thought it was a good idea to continue with the sales tax. It had raised millions of dollars that could be used on roads and bridges and to replace those kinds of numbers without this sales tax would mean huge increases in property taxes every year to accomplish these amounts or anything near. That was my reason for voting to continue the ½ cent sales tax for 10 years.
There are many more things I have been involved with, the sale of the old Health and Human Services building or old Pamida building, creation of the Economic Development Authority (EDA), the American Rescue Plan Act money, and the Community Dental Care Clinic, just to name a few.
I will continue to listen to you! Any questions? Please contact me.