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18% tax increase approved by county

By Randy Thoms Dec 30, 2023 | 3:59 AM

Koochiching County Board of Commissioners meeting, December 2, 2023

Koochiching County has finalized its 2024 budget.

It is an 18 per cent increase to the tax levy.

The county plans to spend over $47 million.

Chair Jason Sjoblom (SHOE-bloom) says it is necessary to expand services and fund initiatives previously approved.

“Obviously, that requires funding with some of the share-staffing model and with the highway department, and also with a jail bill that we have to have and future payments for that jail that we have to continue to make. And it seems like there are always deficits in certain areas of these departments that you cannot predict fully or 100% of the time. So some of these reflect that as well,” says Sjoblom.

The budget includes drawing almost $10 million out of reserves mostly for capital projects.

“There’s a different way to go, but that would result in lack of funding for certain areas in certain departments, too, which would be. . . it’s very dramatic. Actually. Quite dramatic. When you look at the fund reserves in said departments. In particular, in the highway, there just isn’t the funding there to cover the budget. So, it would come out of somewhere else, which we’re trying to balance.”