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Mill levy discussed at Hill County Commissioner's weekly business meeting

 


The possibility of adding a mill levy to the upcoming fall 2020 ballot was discussed at this week’s Hill County Commission’s weekly business meeting.

“The reason this is on there is because when we had our discussions about the insurance, there were a lot of comments that suggested that maybe it’s time we put forth the mill request,” Hill County Commissioner Mark Peterson said.

Peterson said operating costs for the county have gone up, and the funding they receive through taxes have not kept up with those increased costs. He cited a loss of oil and gas revenue as a contributing factor as well.

“Over the past 15 years or so, the county has lost revenue around 1.4 or 1.5 million dollars in oil and gas revenue that we no longer get,” he said.

Peterson said a resolution would have to be passed stating the amount for the mill, and how it would be used. That resolution would have to be finished by Aug. 1 to get it on the Fall 2020 ballot.

“At some point in time, we all know that the cost of operations goes up.” he said. “ … At some point in time, we are either going to have to increase taxes, get permission to raise them, or we’re going to have to start cutting things, not replacing things.”

Peterson said without the mill, services performed by the county may not be able to continue at their current level of efficiency.

“As we go down the road and the dollars get fewer, you’re probably going to have to stand in line a little longer to do transactions at the courthouse, the roads might not be as smooth as you’d like them to be, or be graded as often as you would like them to be,” he said.

Peterson said the increasing costs may affect law enforcement and detention center operations as well.

He said the commission welcomes the input of the public on the matter.

“I want the people to talk to us and tell us what they feel,” Peterson said.

During the meeting, the commission also approved 2-0, with Hill County Commissioner Diane McLean absent, a $188,350 bid for replacing the chiller for the Hill County Courthouse’s temperature control system. Peterson said he knows the price tag for the replacement is high, but that there is an urgent need for the replacement.

“This chiller came in a little higher than we anticipated, but we feel it’s important that we do get moving on it,” Peterson said.

He said delivery and installation is expected to take about eight weeks.

“It’s gonna be a little warm in the courthouse for a while,” he said, “ … We hope everyone will bear with us.”

The commissioners also approved a Delivering Local Assistance Grant Final Management Plan from Bear Paw Development Corp 2-0.

Hill County Commissioner Mike Wendland said open enrollment for county employee health insurance plans has begun and will run through June 15 online.

Wendland also said the Hill County Compensation Board will be meeting May 26 to discuss county employee wages.

 

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