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Becker County sets preliminary 5.5% levy hike for next year

The only saving grace for the budget process this year is that the Human Services Department “found $300,000 in savings,” said Commissioner Ben Grimsley. “That’s the only thing that keeps the budget from being completely atrocious.”

Becker County Courthouse
Sessions of the Becker County Board of Commissioners take place at the county courthouse in Detroit Lakes.
Detroit Lakes Tribune File Photo
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DETROIT LAKES — The Becker County Board on Tuesday set a preliminary 5.5% property tax levy increase for next year.

That preliminary levy can be decreased but not increased when the final levy is set in December.

The 5.5% hike was a compromise engineered by Commissioner John Okeson, after commissioners Ben Grimsley and Larry Knutson pushed for a maximum 5% increase, and Commissioner Barry Nelson proposed a 6% hike, which would have included additional help for the Becker County Attorney’s Office.

“I don’t think you can support law enforcement, and then not support the prosecutor's office,” Nelson said.

“If we can keep our levy (increase) in line at 5%, it would support our taxpayers – they are seeing increased costs everywhere,” Grimsley said.

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The only saving grace for the budget process this year is that the Human Services Department “found $300,000 in savings,” Grimsley said. “That’s the only thing that keeps the budget from being completely atrocious.”

Human Services Director Denise Warren said the savings came in large part from taking a look at historical costs and revenues in one area of the office – which had submitted a conservative budget forecast – and coming up with a more accurate financial picture.

To move the board decision along, Okeson suggested splitting the difference. “I’d compromise at 5.5% and work down from there,” he said.

The board voted unanimously to do just that.

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