Chisago County will be operating with another lean budget next year.
At the Chisago County Board of Commissioners meeting Dec. 5, the board approved a $51.7 million balanced budget for 2013.
That budget is a .4 percent increase in non-levy expenditures from the 2012 budget and reflects a significant reduction in county programs and departments, according to County Administrator Bruce Messelt.
The property-tax levy portion of the budget has decreased from last year by $270,000, or .1 percent.
That reduction represents the fifth year in a row Chisago County has either had a property-tax levy at or below zero percent.
The board has scheduled a meeting for Dec. 19 to certify the budget.
County property taxes are slightly less this year, but that likely won’t offset the increases seen by many in Chisago County over the last two years.
Messelt mentioned 2013 will be the start of the second year since the state nixed the Market Value Homestead Credit system, a decision which saved the state around $500 million when paring down its budget in 2011.
The state replaced the credit with the Market Value Homestead Exclusion program, which shifted the tax burden to businesses, farms, rental properties and higher-valued homes.
In counties with a larger commercial/industrial base, taxes to accommodate the exclusion aren’t as severe, but in rural or semi-rural counties like Chisago, taxes on many non-residential properties tend to be higher under the exclusion program.