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Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

At the December 14 commissioners meeting, the county board approved the Budget Committee’s final budget for 2022 of 1.66% or $160,000. This was a reduction of the preliminary budget in September of 4.91%.

The smaller increase should have dropped the mill rate of the county under eight for the first time in a decade. The mill rate is the tax rate it takes to raise the levy the dollars the board has asked for, based on our tax capacity.

Last year’s 80.73 rate made Wadena County the third highest in the state. With 87 counties in the state, our county tax on an average house is nearly double the median (#43) counties tax. This rate is unsustainable and a factor that makes growing our economy and tax base in most of the county hard to do.

Growth allows us to keep up with legitimate increases and expenses. But the mill rate needs to continue to drop at the same time.

One percent or even a fraction of a percent over a period of years can start to make the county’s taxes more competitive and ease the burden on residents.

But I see challenges in doing this in the next couple of years that will require that all people involved in county government be focused on this challenge.

The Budget Committee consisted of Heather Olson, Ryan Odden, Jon Kangas and myself.

Murlyn Kreklau

District 4 Commissioner

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