How Much Did Itasca County Spend?


dollarsign

I have been going through the 2013 Itasca County budget and would like to share it with you and ask some questions which I had when looking at some of the items listed. Here is the link to see the complete document:

http://www.co.itasca.mn.us/Home/Departments/Auditor-Treasurers/Documents/Adopted%20Budget%20Book%20for%202013.pdf

I’ll try to keep this short, but there are a lot of questions which I would like to raise.

On page 2, we find that the reported 2013 tax levy is $31,544,803. This is reported as a 3.99% increase over the previous year. The total revenue from all sources is $117,496,939. The total expenses are $118,656,939. The county spent $1,600,000 more than they take in.

On page 6 the comparative charts show that from 2009 to 2013 the tax levy increased from $27,319,303 to $31,544,803. An average increase of more than $1,000,000 a year.

Here are some examples of what the money was spent on found from page 12 to page 17:

  • Commissioners……………….$344,569
  • Administrative Services……….$604,364
  • Auditor/Treasurer……………$1,205,632
  • Retirees Insurance………….$1,500,000
  • Assessor………………………..$984,180
  • MIS……………………………..$1,522,050
  • Attorney…………………………$1,386,872
  • Recorder…………………………$477,979
  • Courthouse operations………..$860,382
  • Zoning……………………………$440,392
  • Roads & Bridges……………$18,018,915
  • Land Commissioners……….$1,036,040
  • Human Services…………….$20,383,904
  • IM Care………………………..$43,000,000

On page 17 you can see that the total expenditures were $118,656,939, up $8.5 million in only four years.

On page 19 we begin to see comparisons for the years from 2004 to 2013. On this page we can see that the spending on IM Care rose from $17 million to $43 million. We can also see that total county expenditures rose from $78,455,551 to $118,656,939. That is an increase of more than $30 million in 9 years.

Moving on to the next few pages, we find some examples of specific areas for which spending has increased significantly in the same 9 years.

  • Board of Commissioners increased by more than $40,000.
  • Auditor/treasurer increased by more than $220,000.
  • Assessor increased by more than $180,000.
  • MIS increased by more than $916,000.
  • County Attorney increased by more than $445,000.
  • Recorder increased by more than $77,000.
  • Total governmental expenditures increased by more than $2,600,000.
  • Roads and Bridges increased by more than $4,500,000.

Finally, on page 29, it is detailed that in only four years county property taxes rose from $53,109,620 to $66,597,226. That is an increase of about $13 million in only four years. We also see here that the property tax for commercial/industrial was $10.4 million.

Here are some of the questions which I would like to raise.

  • Are we getting the best value for the money we spend? See, for example our comparison between Grand Rapids and Bemidji (http://grandrapidsvoice.com/2014/01/02/why-is-paul-bunyans-chair-empty/). Also look at upcoming articles comparing Itasca County to surrounding counties.
  • Is the level of taxation hurting us? Refer here to our article on gas prices (http://grandrapidsvoice.com/2014/01/09/why-dont-we-pay-more-for-gas-in-grand-rapids/).
  • Why did the level of spending increase as much as it did in recent years, especially in the areas listed above? One specific area as an example: Why did total government expenditures increase $2.6 million in only nine years, and how long can we continue to allow this kind of spending increase before we are no longer able to pay the bills?
  • Will the tax and spend policies of recent years at some point drive prices so high that even more people will prefer to do business in surrounding areas causing the economy of Itasca County to take yet another hit, which we can ill afford?

Think about these things, and feel free to send us your opinions and any facts that you have that we may have missed. Also, watch for more information from us as we assemble it for publication.

One thought on “How Much Did Itasca County Spend?

  1. IMCare is funded primarily from state MA funds, the administration of the program is incredibly efficient. As a business owner it is hard for me to admit but they are many times more cost effective than any other private insurer. The overhead to run the entire system is around 6-8% when the Blues and others quite often exceed 25-30% due to bloated executive compensation, and the pyramid of underlings that make hundreds of thousands to millions yearly.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s