BEMIDJI -- Taxes levied by Beltrami County in 2022 will be increased by up to 3.96% from the 2021 amount.

At its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 21, the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the preliminary tax levy for 2022 at $27.08 million. The amount is $1.03 million, or 3.96%, higher than the $26.05 million levied in 2021.

The levy amount is based on the following increases to county funds:

  • For the general operating fund, the county would levy $1.9 million, a $139,240 increase from $1.8 million in 2021.
  • For the public safety fund, the county would levy $11.9 million in 2022, a $421,107 increase from $11.5 million in 2021.
  • The county is expected to levy $8.9 million in 2022 for the human services fund, a $314,560 increase from the $8.6 million for this year.
  • For roads and bridges, the county plans to levy $2.9 million for 2022, an $80,022 increase from $2.8 million in 2021.

Debt service payments have also been factored in:

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  • The debt service amount for the Beltrami County Jail is anticipated at $394,000 in 2022, an increase of $25,000 from the $369,000 in 2021.
  • For the Law Enforcement Center, the debt service would be $296,000 for 2022, a $9,000 increase from $287,000 in 2021.
  • For the Beltrami County Judicial Center, the debt service would be $682,000 in 2022, a $42,000 increase from the $640,000 levied in 2021.

In addition to taking its first levy vote, the commissioners also approved the preliminary budget for 2022. In total, the county is anticipated to have a $91.2 million budget, $14.4 million higher than the 2021 budget.

Driving the revenue higher for 2022 is funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as increases in state and other federal aid. In total, the county will receive nearly $40 million from intergovernmental sources.

The county's budgeted expenses, meanwhile, will include $25.9 million for human services, $22.3 million for highways and streets, $17.4 million for general government operations and $13.8 million for public safety.

The final votes on the 2022 budget and levy will take place on Dec. 21.

Jail decisions

Another subject the board took action on Tuesday was the future of the Beltrami County Jail. In the past year, the commissioners have shown interest in either remodeling or rebuilding the corrections facility, which opened in 1989.

In April, the county established a steering committee to help manage process of studying jail options, as well as three subcommittees related to programming, design and finance. County officials have also been researching the hiring of a consultant to manage the scope, budgeting, scheduling, public education and outreach during the duration of the project.

On Tuesday, the commissioners approved a recommendation to hire Construction Engineer Inc. of Grand Forks at a cost of $111,000 per year to be the consultant. The process is expected to last several years.