Lyon County has Truth In Taxation meeting

MARSHALL – There was a very small audience and no public comments Tuesday night at the Lyon County Truth In Taxation meeting. Although only one member of the public was present, and didn’t stay for the entire meeting, Lyon County staff and commissioners reviewed the proposed 2014 budget and levy.

The county will adopt an official levy at a meeting on Dec. 17.

The preliminary levy for 2014 is about $12.73 million, said Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg. That’s an increase of about 4.7 percent from the 2013 levy, at $12.1 million. However, the county has kept to a $12.1 million levy since 2008.

Stomberg went through the proposed 2014 budget, broken down by county departments. Employee salaries accounted for some budget increases in a few county departments. Stomberg said the county has added some positions in the past year, in the auditor/treasurer, county attorney, assessor, parks and maintenance departments. Stomberg said the county also “took a huge hit” in insurance premium costs, with the budget going from $45,000 in 2013 to $103,000 in 2014. Meanwhile, he said, the county was expecting to see less in insurance refunds and dividends.

Stomberg said one factor that would be affecting the 2014 budget was an exemption for some sales and use taxes from the state. Starting in 2014, county governments, and cities with a population higher than 500 will be exempt from paying sales taxes on some items, like office supplies or materials. Based on the amount of sales and use taxes paid by Lyon County in 2012, the exemption will save the county an estimated $135,000 in the coming year, Stomberg said.

Commissioners’ discussion Tuesday night was focused less on specific budget numbers and more on questions of efficiency in hiring, especially in the highway maintenance department. The proposed 2014 budget for maintenance salaries was about $763,000, compared to about $586,000 in 2013. Commissioners debated whether the department needed more full-time maintenance workers, as opposed to making use of part-time workers. Commissioners Charlie Sanow and Rick Anderson said they would like to see a workforce plan for the county highway department.

Stomberg said commissioners would set a final 2014 budget and levy at later this month. The board will take action on the budget and levy at 1 p.m. on Dec. 17.