YMC Board approves budget, levy increase

GRANITE?FALLS?- The Yellow Medicine County Board met for the first time in the new county government center on 8th Avenue in Granite Falls on Tuesday and approved its final budget.

The former Fagen Building was purchased by the county and remodeled. According to a report delivered by Earl Fuechtmann of the construction management firm Contegrity Group Inc., the current total project cost stood at $749,319, which is $6,450 less than the original project estimate.

The board voted to approve the final budget and a gross levy increase of 3.36 percent for 2014. Estimated revenues for 2014 total $16,020,000.

The 2014 budget projects a deficit of $625,000, the largest deficit for several years, said county Finance Director Michelle May.

The commissioners, May and County Administrator Peggy Heglund briefly discussed ways of continuing to look for cost savings through 2014.

At the request of Commissioner Gary Johnson, a budget change request item was pulled for discussion from the consent agenda.

The items concerned a request by the sheriff’s office for an additional $16,000. Yellow Medicine County Sheriff Bill Flaten explained his office routinely requests $10,000 for expenses listed as coroner.

This year, because of two homicides, a suicide and a larger-than-normal number of traffic fatalities, expenses for autopsies and transport were unusually high.

After a public hearing, which was unattended, the board passed a fee schedule for 2014.

At the request of Family Services Director Rae Ann Keeler-Aus, the board approved five Purchase of Service agreements with Western Mental Health Center, Presbyterian Family Foundation, Project Turnabout, Southwest Private Industry Council and MGM Services.

The board also approved Keeler-Aus’ request to hire Danielle Guertin as administrative secretary of the children’s unit at a salary of $13 per hour.

At the request of County Engineer Andy Sander, the board approved the purchase of a John Deere 1435 Series E mower at a cost of $28,299 and a Titan Machine T-100DTG lowboy trailer for $70,123.