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Assessor’s Budget Approved Following Hearing

By Staff | Mar 6, 2008

The Palo Alto County Conference Board gave its approve to the proposed budget of Palo Alto County Assessor Lois Naig for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, following a public hearing Tuesday, March 4. However, a member of the conference board expressed a concern over a budget item during the hearing.

The Conference Board, comprised of the County Board of Supervisors, as well as mayors of the communities in the county and representatives of the school boards, met on February 12 to discuss the proposed budget of the Assessor’s office. In the proposed budget, Assessor Lois Naig had requested $258,136 for the upcoming fiscal year, an increase of $7,093 over the current year’s budget amount of $251,043. One of the areas of increase in the budget was for court appeals, reflecting the ongoing appeal process over the Wild Rose Casino and Resorts, as well as other appeals.

County Supervisor Jerry Hofstad moved to approve the proposed budget, and Supervisor Ron Graettinger offered a second to the motion.

Emmetsburg Mayor John Schad, who had raised concerns over that appraisal and appeal process during the Feb. 12 meeting, then spoke up.

“Does this budget actually show actual expenditures?” Schad asked Naig. “In last year’s budget, you had $2,000 listed for court appeals, but you’ve said you actually spent $9,000 for the appeal process on the Wild Rose.”

“I am allowed by the Code to transfer monies from one area of the budget to the other, which is what we did for the appeals,” Naig answered. “Our insurance costs were lower than expected, so some of those funds were used to cover that.”

“Well, is there any possibility that we as a conference committee, can see the actual expenditures of your office?” Schad asked Naig. “You’re asking us to approve a budget that is not accurate.”

“Wait a minute,” spoke up Graettinger. “This is an estimated budget, and it is all about the bottom line of the budget.”

“That’s right,” agreed Hofstad.

“I just think that we need to know the accurate expenditures in the assessor’s office in the future,” Schad said.

“I can certainly do that for you if you would like from now on,” Naig said.

“Well, I’d just feel better if we had that information.” Schad said.

With that, Board Chair Leo Goeders called for a vote on the motion on the floor. All members present, including Mayors Schad of Emmetsburg, Carl Helt of Mallard and Robert Klepper of West Bend, along with Emmetsburg School Board member Don Hagen and Supervisors Goeders, Graettinger, Hofstad and Keith Wirtz all voted aye to approve the budget, ending the hearing.