County approves 4 percent preliminary levy increase

The Le Sueur County Board approved a 4 percent preliminary 2014 property tax levy increase at its meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 10.
 
Counties are required to adopt resolutions setting preliminary levies in September, with final approval of 2014 budgets and levies coming in December following Truth-In-Taxation Public Hearings. The final levy can be lowered, but cannot be increased over the preliminary figure.
 
Because of levy limits established by the state this year, the Le Sueur County preliminary levy would remain the same as the previous year ($14.7 million), but a qualifying special levy increase can be proposed, in this case 4% or $588,805.
 
The increase could be used for badly-needed road improvements and other county projects or operations, such as $35,000 additional funding for the historical society.
 
The preliminary budget had allocated $20,000 for the historical society, but a budget request submitted at Tuesday’s meeting was at $55,000.
 
Bill Stangler of St. Peter, a former county commissioner and current board member of the historical society, spoke briefly on behalf of the organization, closing with, “We would appreciate your consideration of this funding request,” said Stangler.
 
“Funding for the additional request and other projects will be discussed at future budget workshops between now and the December deadline,” commented County Administrator/Engineer Darrell Pettis.
The total proposed 2014 county budget is currently $31.2 million.
 
The board also:
• Denied (5-0) a planning and zoning request by Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA), of Minneapolis (applicant), William & Lynette McCue, Belle Plaine (owner), for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to allow establishment of a silage stockpiling site for use in public utilities to meet the renewable energy mandates in an Ag District of Sharon Township. The application was tabled from the July 11 meeting for additional information.
 
The county planning commission recommended denial with the following findings:
—The proposed use will adversely increase the quantity of water runoff and will create a potential pollution hazard; adequate utilities, drainage and other necessary facilities have not been provided; the conditional use will be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the vicinity; the CUP will impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of surrounding vacant property; the intensity of the proposal is greater than the intensity allowed in the applicable zoning district.
Prior to the 5-0 vote to deny, Commissioner King commented, “There are too many unanswered questions for me to support this.” Commissioner Connolly also stressed his concerns with safety issues at that location.
• Received the 2012 Annual Public Health Agency Evaluation review from Public Health Director Cindy Shaughnessy, supervisors and coordinators.