County sets levy just under three percent

Looking at need for more help in waste department. Consider commissioner salary increases

Lyon County’s 2019 Preliminary Levy shows a slight increase of almost three percent for 2019. On Tuesday, commissioners set the budget for 2019 at $14,888,942, compared to $14,642,011 in 2018.

The increase of $426,931 amounts to a 2.952 percent levy for 2019. Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg told commissioners, “I’ve updated the summary of the budget levy. I really didn’t make many changes,” he said.

He did make an increase in public health. “It was a minimal amount.”

As for the “road and bridge” budget, he said, “I left that the same.” “Overall, we’re at 2.952, just shy of three percent,” said Stomberg. There are a few items not included in the budget, some of which come from state funding.

Administrator Stomberg indicated he has been asked for a discussion on Commissioners’ salaries but Tuesday the commissioners did not discuss salary changes.

“Other than that, there are no issues or surprises with the budget,” he said.

”Looking at where you want to end up as far as our certified levy, we do have some other funds available as well,” said Administrator Stomberg. The county has to submit a levy and once it’s submitted, they can’t exceed that levy.

During the levy talk, Commissioner Rick Anderson indicated a need for help in the waste director’s office. “I’d really like to have a full-time waste director,” said Commissioner Anderson.

While he indicated he had no problem with current director Roger Schroeder, “But the job has become too much for one man and Schroeder has done a good job as a grant writer for the Legacy grants. But day-to-day operations are hard for him because he spends time at the landfill and so forth.” “I’ve never heard Roger say he’s overworked,” said Commissioner Steve Ritter.

“I think he’s done a good job,” Ritter added.

Commissioner Gary Crowley indicated maybe another full-time person is needed. “I think when there are not extenuating circumstances, I’m not sure we need more help,” said Board Chairman Paul Graupmann.

“Are we adequately staffed? … We can sit and argue about that, but maybe we need to take a look at what the plan would look like if we had additional help. We should sit down and see if there is a need,” said Commissioner Charlie Sanow.

Administrator Stomberg indicated the board could take a look at a plan with additional help with the additional financial considerations.

“If you want to go ahead with that, I need to know so I can plan it,” he said.

“I don’t have a problem taking a look at it,” said Commissioner Ritter. But he indicated he’s not sure changes are needed at this time. No further action was taken.

Commissioner Salaries

The board did discuss Commissioners’ Salaries. Currently, commissioners are at $18,150 per year for each commissioner. They are also paid “per diem” for meetings attended.

“Some counties pay a flat rate and don’t pay a per diem,” said Commissioner Crowley. “Per diem (increase) is one way you can look at it,” said Commissioner Charlie Sanow.

“What I heard from other counties is they tie it to the ‘cost of living’ schedule,” said Administrator Stomberg. Commissioner Crowley said Lyon County was far below the average paid commissioner pay of other area counties. No decision was made at this time.

IN OTHER action the board:

•Agreed to continue to share the county’s Solid Waste Services with Yellow Medicine County. Yellow Medicine County will pay $41.50 per hour, not to exceed 300 hours. Lyon County manages waste and recycling and will develop, implement and administer special waste programs such as tires, appliances, waste, pesticide and container collection, florescent bulbs, business waste, used oil and oil filters, yard waste and lead acid batteries.

They will also plan and implement Household Hazardous waste mobile unit collection events in Yellow Medicine County.

•Approved Lois Novosad to coordinate rental of space the Lyon County Fairgrounds from Oct. 15 to May 1.

•Approved Archery Hunting of deer in Garvin Park. The archery hunting season runs through December 31 with a $5 permit registration free. Garvin Park has hosted the archery season for many years.

•Approved a “Memorandum of Understanding (MOA),” with the University of Minnesota for the delivery of 4-H and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) programs to Lyon County.

The agreement allows the county to use extension services from the University of Minnesota for the next three years at a cost of $95,951. In addition to the budget, there’s a salary for a part-time STEM coordinator.

•Noted the Open House at the Lyon County Landfill is from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday (September 6).

County Administrator Loren Stomberg

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