By Dana Kazel
The St. Louis County Board has approved its 2022 budget at $463,409,827.
The budget invests in Public Works fleet equipment and facilities, acknowledges salary and benefit commitments and market pressures, enhances mental health and substance use disorder services, adds resources to support Planning and Community Development, incorporates targeted uses of ARPA monies and more. It ensures compliance with statutory requirements and the county’s commitment to customer service and program effectiveness.
Commissioner Keith Nelson, who chairs the Finance Committee, thanked his fellow elected officials and county staff, saying “This is a good budget. It reflects the environment we are in today and it reflects the improvements we’re trying to make in our community.”
Just over a third of the budget (34%) is funded by the property tax levy. The final levy was approved at $156.5 million, which is a 5.94% increase from this year. However the actual impact to property owners is expected to be lower due to a 4% increase in the property tax base.
In addition to approving the budget, the County Board also:
. Authorized the Sheriff’s Office to purchase and implement the use of body-worn cameras. The County will purchase 110 cameras for deputies at a cost of $790,000 to be paid over five years.
. Approved and opted in to two nationwide settlements – one with opioid distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen; and the other with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Additionally, the resolution signals the county’s support for the state’s formula for distribution of the settlement funds. Due to several factors still be finalized, the exact amount of funds to be distributed to St. Louis County is not yet known, however it’s estimated the county could receive more than $10 million. St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Director Linnea Mirsch served on an advisory committee for the Attorney General’s Office tasked with determining how the settlement funds should be distributed.
Votes on all of these resolutions were unanimous. Today’s meeting was the final Board meeting of the year. The County Board will next meet on January 4, 2022.