Commissioners amend 2012 budgets
COUNTY – Much of the business conducted at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Walsh County Commissioners had to do with putting a wrap on the various 2012 budgets throughout the county.
The commissioners reviewed the Walsh County Treasurers Report for the final quarter of 2012. Approximately $1.4 million in new taxes were received in the final quarter of 2012. The county showed a balance on hand as of Dec. 31 of a little over $6.8 million which includes revenues from all source. Most of that money has yet to be paid out to different entities in the county including school districts and townships. According to Walsh County Auditor Sharon Kinsala, the county ended 2012 with a nearly $1.7 million carryover in the General Fund which is normal.
Jack Karas made a motion to approve the Treasurers Report. It was seconded by Ernie Barta and passed unanimously with all members present.
The commissioners also approved transfers to and from the county general fund resulting in an $8,600 net gain to the county general fund.
Commissioners also voted unanimously to amend the HazMat budget in the amount of $36,491.39 as requested by Walsh County Emergency Manager Brent Nelson.
Sheriff Lauren Wild asked the commissioners to amend the budget for the jail at the Walsh County Law Enforcement Center in the amount of $2,486.23. Wild commented it was the first time in 22 years that particular line item has been over budget.
Several budgets in the Highway Department were also amended including $1,777.94 for the 2009 flood budget, $91,942.05 for the 2010 flood budget and $595,602.48 for the 2011 flood budget.
According to Walsh County Highway Superintendent Sharon Lipsh, the year end balance in the Bond Account was $737,341.58. That amount doesn’t include a $171,498.72 payment the Highway Department expects to get from a contractor for materials for a project in Sauter Township.
$663,950 was originally budgeted for the bond account in 2012, but more that $1.3 million was spent, due in part to the County Road 9 paving project which cost over $1.1 million. Commissioners unanimously approved a $678,807.85 amendment for the bond account.
Commissioners also approved a $198,149.18 amendment for the highway distribution budget. Reasons for the amendment included spending for digouts, striping on highways, salt sheds, repair of two shop roofs and graveling.
All in all Lipsh said the highway department is in good financial shape.
“We’re still sitting very well and revenues are up,” she said.
Tax Director Mary Wild informed the commissioners that she expects to see a 20 percent increase in valuation for farm land in the county in 2013.
That will be the second-straight year that agricultural land values will see a substantial increase throughout the state. Agricultural land values went up 22 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Like last year, the main reason for the increase is the drop in the capitalization rate. Last year it was approximately 5.864 percent. This year the capitalization rate will be about 5.488 percent. The commissioners have the ability to raise or lower that value by 5 percent.
In other business the board
• Unanimously passed a motion to approve three different tax abatements in the county.
• Extended the deadline from Jan. 16 to Jan. 18, 2013 to apply for the upcoming vacancy when current Walsh County Auditor Sharon Kinsala retires in March.
As of Tuesday’s meeting no applications have been received for the position. The commission is expected to bring up the matter at the Jan. 22, regular meeting. Over the past few meetings, commissioners have discussed the possibility of changing the auditor’s position from an elected to an appointed office.