Budget (it's that time of year)

September 1, 1998, and everyone is just enjoying the last moments of summer. And no one really wants to think about much except perhaps the State Fair and all the delicious, but somewhat sinful-foods that everyone plans to resist, but usually cannot.

The tranquility was broken when County Manager Terry Schutten presented the 1999 Budget. All Commissioners know that the arduous task of cutting and rearranging had begun.

Kevin Duchschere, Star Tribune 9/3/98 reported, "The whittling knives were already flashing as Ramsey County

Manager Terry Schutten presented his proposed 1999 budget Tuesday to the County Board. He called the $416.7 million blueprint "a maintenance-of-effort budget…." "We’re not cutting back, but we’re not expanding…." The tax levy portion of the budget calculates to approximately 38% of the overall budget.

Duchschere reports that "This year the starting point is a 3.9% increase in the property tax levy. Last year the board reduced Schutten’s proposed 3.6% levy to 1.9%.

None of the Commissioners were happy with the 3.9% proposal. Janice asked that the whole process be moved up and that the budget materials be available as early as today. "Setting and publishing a tax levy figure is misleading to the public, and there ought to be a way to review the budget before generating a levy percentage."

Janice pushed for two things in 1997: 1) a Zero tax levy increase; and 2) televised budget hearings. Televised hearings will take place. Can a Zero tax levy become a reality? We’ll see in the coming months.

According to Duchschere, Board Member Janice Rettman said that she would have preferred that Schutten propose a lower increase and that the 3.9% levy hike leaves too much wiggle room. "I didn’t come here to wiggle. I came here to work," she said.

At the September 15 Board meeting, Commissioners Rettman and Guerin proposed a 0% Ramsey County tax levy. The motion failed on a 5 to 2 vote. The motion for a maximum tax levy of 3.6% was approved on a 5-2 with Janice and Dino voting against the increase.

The needs of the County and the needs of people have to balance in government services and spending and that is Janice’s forte.

Here is the tentative budget schedule. Feel free to tune in to your local cable programming or to attend the public hearings. If you have suggestions, feel free to call us or E-mail us. 266-8360

janice.rettman@co.ramsey.mn.us eugene.haselmann@co.ramsey.mn.us

Budget Meetings Schedule

Oct. 20, Tuesday 1:30 to 4:30

Oct. 27, Tuesday 1:30 to 4:30

Nov. 10, Tuesday 1:30 to 4:30

Nov. 17, Tuesday 1:30 to 4:30

Nov. 19, Thursday 9:00 to 12:00

Nov. 24, Tuesday 1:30 until finished

All meetings are scheduled to be held in the Third Floor, Council/Board Chambers, St. Paul/Ramsey County Courthouse.

They are all scheduled to be cable cast.

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