The commission voted 3-2 in favor of a 2% increase in wages and a 3% increase in the cost of living. Commissioners Steve Cichos, Ramone Gumke and Denny Ova voted for the increase, while Commissioners Mark Klose and Joan Morris were against.
In the discussion, Klose said that a 4% increase was “not a bad increase”.
A 1% reduction in the cost of living would have saved the county about $ 45,000.
Gumke said he is in favor of the 5% increase to keep Stutsman County’s wages from falling behind other counties.
The commission also voted 3-2 to cut the budget of the James River Valley Library System by $ 60,000.
Cichos, Ova and Morris voted for the reduction, while Klose and Gumke voted against the reduction.
Morris had suggested the cut at an earlier meeting. The budget cut will eliminate staff at the James River Valley Library System‘s Stutsman County Library, according to Joe Rector, library system director. The space would continue to be used by the library system for the storage of books and supplies.
The proposed budget will see the mill increase by about 3.66 mills year over year, according to Jessica Alonge, interim auditor for Stutsman County. The cut for the library budget cut was not included in that number on Friday.
The Stutsman County Library Milling Rate is separate from the Jamestown Library Milling Rate. Any reduction in the mill tariff resulting from the library budget cut would only apply to property taxes within Stutsman County but outside the city of Jamestown.
The proposed budget also includes $ 435,000 in funds for Coronavirus Relief, Relief, and Economic Security Funds to help lower the milling rate.
“Using COVID funds to buy off the mill rate could bite us again in the future,” said Morris, “if there are no CARES funds or something similar available next year.”
The current 3.66 million increase in the interest rate would represent an increase in property tax of approximately $ 16 per $ 100,000 in residential property valuation.
The current budget is provisional. The County Commission (CAP) can cut, but not increase, its budget prior to the final budget hearing, scheduled for October 7th at 6:00 p.m. in the Stutsman County Courthouse.