[Audio] *Update* Faust, Lourey Meet w/ Pine County Board, Preliminary Levy Set

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 at 11:05 am

The Pine County Board sat down with local legislators Tuesday to discuss the past legislative session and the one that begins in January. The conversation focused on this past session’s decision to implement a 3.9-percent levy cap to help keep property taxes down. State Senator Tony Lourey and Tim Faust spoke on the issue. Both said they were not too enthusiastic with the idea, but said it was a necessary move.

Hear the legislators comments:

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The board also set a preliminary levy for next budget year. The board approved a preliminary 2.4-percent net levy increase. The preliminary levy is due to the state by September 15th. Interim County Coordinator Mark Lebrun.

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Also at Tuesaday’s board meeting, representatives from the East Central Regional Library gave a brief presentation. Director Barbara Misselt spoke, and said the libraries in the region have served as an outlet for families during the recent economic harships. Misselt also reported an increase in state funding for libraries this year.

Furthermore, the board heard a presentation from members with the Northeast Minnesota Radio Board regarding a potential joint powers agreement. The radio board is working towards bringing a more connected radio service between the sheriff and rescue officials throughout the region. The board also passed a resolution calling for a public hearing on the capital improvement plan and authorizing the issuance and sale of general obligation capital improvement plan.

Area residents will soon begin receiving letters on property tax changes to the Green Acres program. The changes mean non-productive acreage will no longer be eligible for the reduced agricultural valuation. Owners of the non-productive acres must either withdraw from the program or remain until part of the land is sold, transferred or subdivided. Pine County Assessor Mike Sheehy explained the changes to the County Board Wednesday.

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Green Acres gives farmers the chance to obtain a deferment from higher valuations and subsequent taxes on farmland that has been increased in value to reflect market prices paid in excess of farmland prices. However, County Commissioner Roger Nelson thinks these changes are unfair, and are blindsiding property owners.

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Land owners must inform the county assessor of their decision in the green acres program by November 3rd.

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