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Board sets budget, levy rises 1 cent

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HARTINGTON – The $32.2 million Cedar County budget was approved along with the tax asking for the 2023-24 fiscal year at the board of commissioners’ meeting on Sept. 12.

County Clerk Dave Dowling said the county’s budget this fiscal year reflects a 4.86 percent increase over last year’s budget of $30.7 million.

“We’ve got three big road projects in this budget year,” Dowling said. “One of them is a bridge that costs $1.1 million. Then we’ve got two box culverts – one of them is $400,000 and one of them is $425,000. That’s what the proposed bids on them are.”

The county transferred $1 million from its inheritance fund to the general fund to help cover most of the cost of the bridge replacement project.

“We try not to because the governor is going to cut back on the inheritance tax,” Dowling said of transferring money out of the county’s inheritance fund. “In the future, we’re probably not going to be able to do that.”

The commissioners approved a bid on June 13 of just over $1.1 million submitted by Herbst Construction Inc. of rural Le Mars, Iowa, for the bridge replacement project.

“Everything’s going up. You can’t just stop doing anything. You’ve got to try to keep upgrading bridges,” said Commissioner Dick Donner.

The bridge that will be replaced crosses over the Bow Creek on 883rd Road about 1.25 miles east of Hartington.

Carla Schmidt, the county’s highway superintendent, previously described the current crossing – a 100-foot-long pony truss bridge built in 1973 out of concrete and steel – as “structurally deficient.”

The bridge replacement project has been set for January-May 2024.

The county also borrowed about $2.4 million to go toward work on blacktop road projects.

“Just the payment alone on that bond issue is $357,000 this year,” Dowling said.

The county’s tax levy will go up by 3.84 percent to a tax rate of 26 cents. To put that in perspective, for property valued at $100,000, the county will receive $265 for its share of property taxes.

“Our levy is going to go up basically one cent, and that’s one cent per $100 of assessed value,” Dowling said.