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Beltrami residents could see property tax reduction

BEMIDJI -- Residents of Beltrami County will not see an increase, and could see a reduction, in their property taxes as a result of what county administrator Kay Mack said Tuesday will be a balanced budget for 2014.

That's thanks in part to an increase in County Program Aid, a program funded by the state's Department of Revenue that in 2014 will provide $573,183 more than last year.

"One distinction I would make is that increase is just rebuilding what they took from us before," Commissioner Jack Frost said at the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday afternoon.

"Last year, you'll remember the shocking news," Mack said of a substantial decrease in funding from the program between 2012 and 2013.

In 2012, the program provided $3,106,197 to the county. In 2013, that number was $2,350,550, a loss of $755,647.

The board unanimously approved the proposed levy, totalling $17,486,013, the same as last year.

The board is currently in the process of constructing their 2014 budget, and Commissioner Jim Lucachick was hopeful tax rates may go down. Now that the proposed levy has been adopted, Mack said, property taxes can only remain at their current levels, or be lowered.

"If for some reason, we can lower them, great," he said.

Money taken in by the county as a result of the levy will be divided in the following manner:

Revenue fund -- $8,152,870

Health and human services -- $6,588,750

Roads and bridges -- $2,238,393

Judicial Center -- $210,000

Law Enforcement Center -- $296,000

Justin Glawe
Reporting on crime, courts and Beltrami county government. Follow me on Twitter @JustinGlawe.
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