End of the Year Discussion Includes Opioid Settlement, Worker Shortages and Truth in Taxation Public Hearing

End of the Year Discussion Includes Opioid Settlement, Worker Shortages and Truth in Taxation Public Hearing

December 13, 2021 News -- KRJB-KRJM-KKCQ 0

By: Mary Balstad marybalstad@rjbroadcasting.com

Polk County, MN – Polk County Commissioner Joan Lee was on Monday, December 13th’s ‘Food for Thought’ program to speak about important issues. As the end of the year draws closer, Lee reports on how the offices are being kept busy locally and at the state-wide level. The first topic Lee covered was the opioid settlement. The settlement began when the dramatic rise in opioid related deaths came to light during the initial lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. With a reported 59% rise in 2020 from the previous year, the Minnesota Attorney General joined with other states in the $26 billion settlements against various opioid manufacturers and distributors. On December 6th, the Attorney General announced an agreement with Minnesota cities and counties on how the funds from the settlements will be allocated. This agreement concluded with 75% of the funds going toward the cities and counties that signed on to the settlement and 25% going to the state of Minnesota.

The next topic Lee spoke on was something that many work places in the United States are currently facing; a worker shortage. At the jail, a pod needed to be closed due the the lack of workers. Each pod houses 60 inmates, meaning the number of inmates went down from 200 to 140. Lee states the lack of workers also effects the finances of the jail along with the housing of inmates from other counties.

Lastly, the Truth in Taxation public hearing was discussed. Set for 6 P.M. on Tuesday, December 14th is the presentation of the proposed budget for 2022. The presentation will show different sources of revenue funding and the expenses for different departments. This will include use of the ARPA funds to cover lost revenue in certain departments that are eligible and using 3.5% from a primary levy of 4.6%.

Lee states that the budget presented covers a lot of factors in how it is put together. One aspect is the unexpected funding or increases that fund balances experience. Polk County Commissioner Joan Lee can be heard every second Monday of the month on ‘Food for Thought’ at 8:45 A.M. on KKCQ-FM.