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Dodge County board approves 2021-2022 budget

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Dodge County Board Graphic

Dodge County Board

The Dodge County Board of Supervisors approved its 2021-2022 county budget at its meeting Wednesday.

County Clerk Fred Mytty introduced the budget with a brief presentation and said the county was close to completing all of its repairs from the spring 2019 flooding.

“We’ve used up most of our reserves and have borrowed from the banks of $12.8 million, but we should start getting NEMA, FEMA reimbursements to the county and to the projects,” he said.

Mytty said the operating budget went up 42%, but the tax request stayed the same at $10,924,813 as valuations came down .27% this year to .229730.

The increase, Mytty said, was due to the loan disaster fund going from $6.2 million to $14.2 million as it prepares to pay the banks back and the county receiving $7.1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

“So there, we went from $8 million in the disaster relief fund and $7 million for federal disaster, that’s an almost $16 million increase in the budget,” he said. “So we go up 42%, but our tax rate stays the same.”

Prior to the flooding, Mytty said the county had $18 million in reserves, which includes the inheritance, capital improvement and economic development funds.

But after the flooding, he said it had gone down to $2 million.

“Thank goodness we had at least $6 million to get us started in those funds, and plus the $12 million in bank loans, so that’s $18 million,” he said. “And so now, we’re at $4 million in those three funds, so we’re on our way back to establishing some sort of cash reserve that we can use for other projects.”

As part of the budget, the board also approved a 2.5% increase to the lid of restricted state funds, including motor vehicle and insurance premium taxes and an additional 1% of restricted funds.

“The combination of the 2.5% and 1% gives an increase in our base of $342,169.71,” Mytty said.

Chairman Bob Missel thanked Mytty, his office, the finance committee and county department heads for their “outstanding” work on the budget.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to keep the tax rate where it was without an increase,” he said. “I think it’s a very workable budget.”

Supervisor Bob Bendig, chair of the finance committee, also thanked Mytty for his work on the budget.

“It looks like we’ve got an opportunity to pay those loans off and get out of debt, so it should be good,” he said.

Prior to discussing the budget, the board also approved setting Dodge County’s tax request.

“It’s kind of the cart before the horse, because the tax rate and the budget all go together,” Mytty said. “So what we need to do is have a motion to approve it subject to the adoption of the budget.”

As part of the budget discussion, the board also approved $1,000 in funds to the Summit Grove Preservation Group.

“As you can see, they’re a good example of how a community cares for its cemetery,” Missel said. “They’ve just done a great job recreating that space and taking care of it.”

The board also approved an agreement with JEO Consulting Group for the Rawhide Creek Watershed Work Plan’s Environmental Assessment.

“We’re very pleased that JEO is taking this on,” Missel said. I think they’ve got an excellent team and understand our drainage more than anybody, so I really feel good about that selection.”

The board also approved a new policy for recipients of ARPA funds. Mytty said new additions included protection for whistleblowers and safe driving, including seat belt use and reducing text messaging.

In road projects, the board approved a Emergency Relief Program repair project on County Road 14 and an agreement with Speece Lewis Engineers for the Hooper North/Logan Creek project.

In other news, the board approved transferring $5,000 from the inheritance tax fund to the flood control fund and recommending the renewal of The Tow Line Company’s liquor license.

Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his 2021 Budget Address virtually, via a prerecorded video. The governor updated Pennsylvanians on the state of the commonwealth and announced his budget proposal for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

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