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County starts work on next year's budget: New jail and airport project are front and center

As Becker County begins work on next year's budget, several major projects will be front and center—funding for the new jail and a major airport improvement project.

The county will begin construction of the $20 million, 186 bed jail facility later this summer. Bonds to finance the jail project were sold at an interest rate of 2.39 percent.

The bond rating agency noted that Becker County has strong management, a strong budgetary performance, very strong budgetary flexibility, very strong liquidity, a very strong debt and contingent liability profile, and a strong institutional framework, according to County Administrator Jack Ingstad.

"The county has very much taken care of the things you can take care of (to improve your credit rating)," said bond consultant Bruce Kimmel. "Your financial house is in order, so to speak. There are really no negatives. The Auditor-Treasurer's Office and Administrator did a great job in preparing for this."

The Becker County-Detroit Lakes Airport is scheduled for more than $18 million in improvements over the next three years. Most of the project will be funded by the Federal Aviation Administration with contributions from the state, county and city.

Revenue enhancements for next year's budget will come from the state's increase to county participation aid, as well as funding for carrying out the state's water quality buffer initiative.

Proposed county budgets are due from departments by Aug. 11. The County Board is expected to set Becker County's preliminary levy on Sept. 19.

Questions concerning the 2018 County Budget should be directed to Ingstad at jwingst@co.becker.mn.us or 218-846-7201 The tentative date for the public hearing on the budget is Dec. 14, with final adoption on Dec. 19.

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