Olmsted County sets preliminary levy for 2024

(ABC 6 News) – On Sept. 19, the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners certified the preliminary 2024 levy for Olmsted County and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA).

The combined levy total equates to $130.6 million, with about $125.7 million and $4.9 million worth of funding coming from the county and HRA property taxes respectively.

If the preliminary 2024 levy is approved in December, the county’s $125.7 million property tax will be a 5.2% increase over 2023. The preliminary levy is a maximum amount that the board cannot exceed after approving the final 2024 budget and levy on Dec. 19.

“There is a lot of analysis, discussion, and contemplation that goes into creating a workable budget for the county. Nationwide, everyone is facing inflation and rising health care costs, and that affects our work at the county as well,” explained Olmsted County Administrator Heidi Welsch. “Previously, to manage inflationary pressures, we had put several capital projects and equipment on hold, but we cannot afford to keep deferring this important work.”

Welsch said the Board of Commissioners plans to fund the Capital Improvement Program at 1% of levy each year for the next five years to reach all program goals.

This will include development of a Justice Center at the Government Center, a law enforcement training facility, planning for the Graham Park exhibition center, design of a materials recovery facility and continued design and construction of the interchange at County State Aid Highway 44 and Trunk Highway 14.

Welsh stated that 2023 state legislature funding has paid for a variety of the county’s one-time needs, preventing the need to set the levy higher.

“Increases in County Program Aid and corrections funding from the legislature has also been useful in helping to cover expenses,” Welsch added.