How deep do state cuts go?More details have surfaced on how much state funding Minnesota cities and counties will lose this week as the state tries to shore up a $426 million year-end deficit.
More details have surfaced on how much state funding Minnesota cities and counties will lose this week as the state tries to shore up a $426 million year-end deficit.
Governor Tim Pawlenty announced $110 million in local aid cuts on Friday, with cities losing $66 million and counties losing $44 million.
In Douglas County, only the county and its two largest cities – Alexandria and Osakis – fell under the knife, due to a provision by Pawlenty exempting cities with populations under 1,000 from cuts, officially known as “unallotments.”
Minnesota counties with less than 5,000 residents were also spared.
According to the Department of Revenue, the state plans to unallot $362,486 in promised aid to Douglas County and $226,358 owed to Alexandria.
Officials from both the county and the city have said they will have to dip in to cash reserves to cover the losses.
The city of Osakis, which has roughly 1,600 residents, will lose $34,482 in aid.
That gap could be too big to bridge, said City Clerk Angela Jacobson when interviewed last week about the expected cuts.
Osakis entered December about $60,000 from meeting its 2008 budget, Jacobson said, with more bills expected before the end of the year.
“The budget’s really tight right now,” she said.
Jacobson said the city will try to make up the difference by tapping the city liquor store’s profits, or dip into savings set aside for future projects.
Look for more on the local effects of the state’s funding cuts in Friday’s Echo Press.