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[Audio] Pine County Forced to Cut More than “Paperclips and Pencils”

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 at 7:25 am

The clock is winding down and the Pine County Board is still trying to figure out what to do with the budget. The board agreed, Tuesday, to sit down again with department heads to figure out where to cut expenditures because they are anticipating reductions in program aid from the state.

The county is owed $650,000 in program aid and another $700,000 in Market Value Credits. Interim County Coordinator Mark LeBrun expects a 10 to 25 percent cut in these payments, money which the county already spent.

The County is also expecting $1.5 million in program aid for 2009. LeBrun says it is likely all of this money will be taken away due the Minnesota’s budget shortfall. County Chair Steve Hallan says the county is going to have to consider significant cuts.

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Minnesota’s over $5-billion shortfall and the entire state of the economy was the main reason commissioner Doug Carlson voted against a raise in commissioners salaries and per diem, which was discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting.

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The board voted 4-1 to keep salaries and per diem at the current rates, instead of a three percent increase. The vote also sets mileage at $.505 or the federal level, whichever is lower.

Carlson says he will vote for an increase of commissioners pay in the future, but noted that now is not the time.

Hallan gave the one vote in favor of the changes. He says since the county no longer has a full time coordinator, commissioners are doing more, and says they should be compensated for their efforts.

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Salary for Pine County Commissioners for 2009: $21,208.00

Per Diem Rate per Meeting for 2009: $75.00

Other County Commissioners Pay (Numbers from Star Tribune)

Chisago: $27,419

Hennepin: $93,888

Isanti: $26,226
The board will revist the budget at a special meeting on December 30th in Pine City at the courthouse.

2 Comments

  1. PineCityKid 12/17/08 at 1:09pm

    I hope that no other positions are eliminated from the County through consolidations or otherwise.

    People expect efficiency but that doesn’t always mean two separate jobs can become one (land and zoning; HR and coordinator). Part of the essence of efficiency is not overburdening existing positions with added duties and responsibilities.

  2. Randy 12/17/08 at 3:29pm

    I think it is time to look at a decrease in county salaries, 5% across the board for all positions. We, the residents, have had our property values decreased, our property taxes increased and most of us have not received a raise at our jobs, as most residents are on fixed incomes or our businesses are suffering. Also our expenses have risen, groceries, heating, electric bills and although gas prices are down it is only a matter of time for them to increase. Those in county govt and the workers will reply that cutting positions will decrease services. that may be true assuming that everyone in a position is giving 100% effort if not then there may be room to decrease or consolidate. But a decrease in salaries is the best way to keep all of the services at a lower cost. Anyone worker not liking it can go out and find another job paying as much and someone not employed would be happy to take their position.

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