County tax levy at $18.5 million

The Sherburne County 2000 tax levy was lowered by three-fourths of a percent Tuesday.
The Sherburne County Board of Commissioners set the proposed tax levy in September.
County Administrator Brian Bensen has been working on the budget to try to lower it. The proposed net levy now stands at an estimated $18.5 million, an 8.34% increase from this year.
In September, the initial levy was set at $18.63 million, a 9.07% increase from 1999.
Expenditures proposed for the upcoming year are $40.37 million. This is a .07% ($28,500) increase from this year.
Proposed for spending in 2000, the social service department has the biggest chunk by spending about $10.38 million, 25% of the budget.
The general administration expenditures is about $8.78 million and the public safety and corrections will spend about $8.32 million. Public works is proposed to spend about $6.51 million in 2000.
Revenues for 2000 are estimated at $20.43 million, a seven percent decrease from this year.
For 2000, 33 people are proposed to be added to county staff. Twenty-eight will be working in the jail department.
The public health department requested that their fulltime nurse remain in the budget. The commissioners approved a contract last week with Fairview Hospital to work with the jail department. The question remains if a public health nurse is needed now.
Kathy Landwehr, acting county public health director, says the nurse position is needed for three reasons. One is there are duties that were previously held by the nurse in the jail that would be lost and will need to be transferred to the existing staff.
Some of the duties include administering vaccines at various clinics and to read mantoux tests for correctional officers and the public health staff.
She also said a fulltime nurse is needed for programs that the department is currently doing and need to be expanded due to legislature mandates. Some of the programs include tobacco endowment activities and clinics that are demanded by the community - foot clinics, child passenger safety, home safety and environmental health.
Landwehr also said they do not have enough staff to help write grant proposals.
The commissioners requested more information on the position before they decide whether a fulltime nurse is needed. They will make a decision next month.
“I’m sorry I have to be the bad guy, but the duties are no longer there,” says Commissioner Betsy Wergin. “They are in the jail. I can’t support this.”
Commissioner Arne Engstrom said when they contracted with the hospital for the jail, they didn’t think of the other duties a public nurse conducts.

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