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Local

County balances budget with wind farm money, capital funds

DIXON – Lee County plans to balance a projected $1 million budget deficit with wind farm revenue and capital funds.

The county is bringing in about $500,000 in one-time money from wind farm zoning fees, and plans to transfer about $560,000 from the capital project fund, which the county has used for years to help offset red ink in the budget.

The County Board put its fiscal year 2020 budget on file this week and will vote to approve it next month. Its general fund is estimated to bring in about $10.75 million in revenue and $10.73 million in expenses.

Finance Committee Chairman Bob Olson said they’re basically using the capital fund as a savings account to balance the budget, and the main problem comes from decreased revenue from the landfill.

Revenue at the landfill, owned by Republic Services, has steadily declined during the past several years, following the end of the 5-year contract the county had with Republic’s predecessor, Allied Waste, when the county received $1.8 million a year.

The county has been budgeting about $200,000 in projected landfill revenue the past couple of years, and Olson said they’re making more than $700,000 less in landfill revenue than 2015.

A few increases in expenses are from a net increase of three and a half staff members, including two additional correctional officers for the new Lee County Law Enforcement Center and a full-time hire for the animal control, County Treasurer Paula Meyer said.

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