YMC Board wrests with deficit spending

GRANITE?FALLS?- The Yellow Medicine County Board discussed budget options at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

According to figures presented by County Administrator Peg Heglund and Finance Director Michelle May, at current projected expenditures, and with a levy increase of the 3.42 percent allowed by state law, the county would run a deficit of $530,000 in 2014.

Yearly expenses for the county are currently projected at $16,809,000 for 2014. The county currently has $11,340,000 in reserves. If the county does not cut expenditures, the reserves would stand at $10,810,000 after 2014.

Measures discussed included a one-year moratorium on purchases of heavy equipment and vehicles by the highway department, a yearly cost of about $400,000.

Further discussions will address the budget before the December deadline.

In a rare split vote, the board approved the consent agenda with Commissioner Gary Johnson casting a dissenting vote on the issue of the Chemical Health Coalition’s request for authorization to spend $4,660 of remaining grant money. The Coalition plans to bring a trainer to Yellow Medicine County to teach how to identify and handle alcohol and drug use.

Johnson objected he had not been informed of the item on the consent agenda before the meeting.

In other business, the board voted to accept a bid from Hjerpe Contracting of Hutchinson to replace old tile on County Ditch 9/Branch R with larger diameter tile.

Hjerpe submitted the lowest bid of $868,000, which was 4 percent lower than the engineer’s estimate of $907,000.

The board also approved a request by Property and Public Services Director Janel Timm to spend the recorder’s unallocated and technology funds to have county documents from the 1800s through 1966 imaged and stored on digital media.

Timm said the mortgage, deeds and miscellaneous records are deteriorating and need to be permanently preserved. The cost would be less than $100,000, so competitive bidding for the contract is not required.

The documents would be available for online access, according to Timm.