Board's four percent increase for libraries falls far short of request

After much discussion at the Truth in Taxation meeting on Dec. 9, as well as earlier action taken by the Lyon County Board of Commissioners, the board is set to finalize the levy at 1.7 percent during its regular meeting Dec. 21.
However, not everyone is getting what they asked for.
During the Aug. 17 county board meeting, Michele Leininger with the Marshall-Lyon County Library presented a budget to the board that included a request for an 11.3 percent increase for 2022. The budget request was met with resistance from board members.
Commissioner Charlie Sanow stated at the meeting that after looking at the amount of money the library was asking for, it was just beyond what he would suggest giving and a level he wouldn’t support.
The FY budget was $1,044,035. The proposed 2022 budget was for $1,161,662 — an increase of $117,627.
Commissioner Rick Anderson echoed Sanow’s thoughts at the meeting.
“Just because we did a zero-increase last year doesn’t mean we have to play catch-up for everything this year,” commissioner Anderson said. “I think this budget is a little out of line.”
With that meeting in mind and other library board meetings that have taken place since August as well as much board discussion, the board decided to increase the library’s funding 4 percent instead of the requested 11.3 percent. The same increase will go to the Minneota and Tracy libraries.
The library is also looking at an $8,000 technology upgrade and the board will look at that as a separate item when the library moves forward on the project and presents it to the board.
In addition, at the Nov. 2 meeting, the board voted to end the Sentence-to-Serve program. The board asked Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg to remove the Sentence to Serve program from the budget as well as lower the library increase to 4 percent.
However, the levy will remain at 1.7 percent and the extra dollars will go into the contingency. The contingency could be used to fund a part time employee if there are projects that need to be done that are usually handled by the Sentence to Serve program.

In other board news:
• The board approved the purchase of a 2021 Western Star 4700 Chassis plow truck from Boyer Trucks for $121,497.66. In addition, the county will purchase a 2021 box and plow package for $139,024.
A new truck was in the budget for 2022, but the 2021 Western Star 4700 Chassis is a demo truck and can be purchased by the county for immediate delivery at 2021 pricing. If the county were to purchase a new truck in 2022, delivery estimates are 18 months, or July 2023. In addition, the county would be looking at significant price increases in 2022. The current truck that will be replaced has 222,000 miles but has had above-average repair and down-time liabilities.
“This is an opportunity to save taxpayers money now and, in the future,” board chair Steve Ritter said.
• The board adopted a resolution approving Lyon County’s application for funding from the Voting Equipment Grant Account. The grant program will allow up to a 75 percent match for electronic roster equipment purchases (e-pollbooks) and up to a 50 percent match for the costs of other equipment or technology purchases. Lyon County Auditor/Treasurer E.J. Moberg intends to apply for grant monies related to purchasing additional assistive voting devices (OmniBallot tablets) and to purchase additional e-pollbooks (Poll Pads).
• The board approved the purchase of additional carpet tile to be installed in the remaining areas of the Government Center for $41,589.50. The carpet will match the current carpet in the building and will be installed by staff.
• The board approved the lease renewal with Southwest Health and Human Services. The lease is for 5 years and includes a 50 cent per square foot increase per year.
• The board passed a resolution authorizing county staff to execute all necessary documents to ensure county participation in the multistage settlements relating to opioid distributors and manufacturers, and in the Minnesota Opioids State-Subdivision Memorandum of Agreement, and declaring support for an amendment to Minn. Stat. 256.043, subs. 3(d).
• The board accepted the work of M&K Bridge Construction of Walnut Grove on the Shelburne Township bridge replacement over Tyler Creek and approved the final payment of $2,928.19.
• The board approved a three-year proposal from the Lyon County Newspaper Association for publishing public notices and commissioner minutes in all Lyon County Legal Newspapers. The agreement included a 3 percent increase per year.
• The board approved the annual off sale liquor license renewal for Valley Discount Liquor and On-sale/Sunday liquor license renewal for Cottonwood Country Club for 2022.
• The board approved the hire of Laura Pehrson as 911 dispatcher with a starting pay of $21.85/hr.
• The board approved the hire of Matt Dahl as general equipment operator in the Cottonwood shop with a starting pay of $20.41 per hour.
• The board re-appointed Tim Buysse to another term on the Yellow Medicine River Watershed board.
• The board approved the ratification of the professional services agreement between Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperatives and TriMin Systems, Inc. for maintenance and support of IFS (Integrated Financial Systems), which is the county’s general ledger.
• The board adopted a letter of commitment of funds and a resolution authorizing participation in the planning process and execution of the Lyon County Hazard Mitigation Assistance Agreement.

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