December 18, 2008

County seeing positive budget changes

By Brenda L. Shelkey

County Auditor Les Korgel updated commissioners on the financial condition of McLean County during the Dec. 9 meeting, telling them, "We are looking at a pretty good year." Despite the hardships hitting other areas of the country, North Dakota is weathering the storm fairly well. The bailout bill, also known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 passed by Congress has designated money through the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program to county governments. Korgel told commissioners, "The county received an additional $133,000 at the end of November to bring the PILT payment up to being fully funded, similar to reimbursements for 2007." The PILT, State Aid, and Coal Severance monies are down around $45,000 from last year, but Fees and Miscellaneous Revenues are up about $18,000. Korgel noted that property taxes are at 99 percent collected with the discount, compared to 97 percent in 2007. He said, "The delinquent taxpayers owing over $4,000 list is the smallest list I’ve seen since I’ve been here. That could be due in part to the fact that taxpayers couldn’t get their state tax credit last year unless their taxes were paid up." Korgel explained that 82.43 percent of the budget has been expended at this point in time. He said, "Normally, budget expenditures would be around 92 percent." He noted that several items will exceed the budget in the line items, but overall the total expenditure budget is looking good.

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