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Pierce County board orders budget cuts

ELLSWORTH -- The Pierce County Board was given three options to balance the 2011 county budget, but a theme in all three was cut, cut and cut.

In the end, during the June 22 meeting, the board approved, by a 14-1 vote, the option of directing all county departments to cut 3.4% from their budgets.

The state will allow the county to increase its operating levy by 3%, which will mean collecting $240,000 more in property taxes but require the 3.4% reduction in spending, according to a memo from Finance Director Julie Brickner. The spending reduction figures out to $507,413.

The option came with the approval of the Finance and Personnel Committee and wasn't heavily debated among other supervisors.

Only Board Chairman Paul Barkla said he favored the second option -- calling for incorporating the levy increase, which would generate an additional $430,000 in property taxes, but force the county to cut 2.1% or $317,413.

The first option called for cutting the cost of personnel, programs and improvements by 5% ($747,413).

Brickner said the impact of the board's action on the taxpayer is unknown because the value of new construction and equalized assessment rates have yet to be determined.

Supervisor Chip Simones provided the lone no vote. Supervisors Mel Pittman and Jim Ross were absent from the meeting.

Barkla said the 3.4% could change, as there are many unknowns, chief among them how much state aid the county will receive.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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