Mill levy increasing for Sewer District 3

Meghan Flynn

The Finney County Commission made adjustments to Sewer District 3’s mill levy during a public hearing at a special board meeting Monday.

The mill levy for Sewer District 3 will increase from 4.98 mills in 2020 to 6.98 mills in 2021.

The original proposal for the 2021 mill levy was 11.078.

Robert Reece, county administrator, said the increase was significant because the district has been struggling to maintain a positive cash balance by the end of the year.

The district’s problems began in 2017, when it had to make improvements after experiencing operational difficulties.

The additional cost of the improvements began the process of putting it behind in the revenue needed to maintain current operations and to make its bond payment, Reece said. Also, there was an increase in delinquencies.

Instead of having a 6 mill increase, which is significant, Reece suggested to the commissioners that they take a different approach of increasing the mill by 2, to 6.98, and transfer $7,000 from the sewer district’s general fund to its debt service fund for this year to help offset the initial increase.

“We take that approach the first year and we'll step back and re-gauge how everything is going, and ... the following year we would make some other form of adjustment,” he said. “This is to try and get them back on course and help the county figure out exactly what the best balance is in terms of their sewer rate and mill levy to meet their obligations.”

In other business, the commission held public hearings for the Finney County Budget, Sewer District 1’s budget and Sewer District 2’s budget.

All three were approved.