County Board approves $394.7 million budget; gives special recognition to Auditor Don Dicklich

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 Administration • 100 North Fifth Avenue West, Room 202 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 726-2450 •

Kevin Z. Gray
County Administrator



December 18, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


St. Louis County Board approves $394.7 million budget for 2019; honors outgoing Auditor Don Dicklich

Faced with rising costs to provide services, the County Board set a goal early in the year to keep any increase in the property tax levy at or below the level of growth in the property tax base. They achieved that goal Tuesday, with the passage a $394.7 million budget. Just over a third (35 percent) of the budget is funded by the levy, which was approved at $136.7 million. The levy reflects a 3.45 percent increase compared to the current year, but will be largely offset by a 4 percent growth in the property tax base.


The overall budget, while slightly less than in 2018, makes increased investments in human services, particularly in the areas of out-of-home placements, substance abuse and mental health.


Commissioner Pete Stauber, who chaired the Finance Committee this year, said, "This budget is the result of a lot of hard work by the County Board, department heads and staff. It reflects the needs in our community but all is respectful of the impact any increase in property taxes has on our hardworking citizens."


More information on the 2019 budget can be found online at 


Also today, commissioners and others paid tribute to Auditor Don Dicklich, who will be retiring at the end of this year after more than 14 years in office. Numerous current and former colleagues and friends joined in recognizing Dicklich's many contributions to the county.


County Board Chair Keith Nelson said, "The leadership that he has shown in our auditor’s office, in our elections process… the amount of respect that Don has brought to that office, including the county's AA+ bond rating... without Auditor Dicklich, this county would not have that AA+ bond rating. It has saved taxpayers millions of dollars."


At the conclusion of the meeting, commissioners also recognized outgoing commissioners Pete Stauber and Tom Rukavina, and thanked them for their service on the Board. Stauber was recently elected to Congress. Rukavina did not seek re-election due to health challenges.




Don Dicklich and other elected officials

Auditor Don Dicklich (second from left in front row) is retiring soon, making today's County Board meeting his last. Commissioners and other elected leaders - both past and present - honored him today for his service. Shown L-R are (kneeling) Former Commissioner Dennis Fink, Don Dicklich, Commissioners Patrick Boyle and Pete Stauber, and County Administrator Kevin Gray. Standing: Commissioner Keith Nelson, Commissioner-elect Paul McDonald, former Commissioner Bill Kron, Commissioner Mike Jugovich, Sheriff Ross Litma, Commissioners Frank Jewell and Beth Olson, County Attorney Mark Rubin and former Commissioner Steve Raukar.

Pete Stauber and Keith Nelson

Commissioner Pete Stauber shares a laugh with Commissioner Keith Nelson as Nelson presented him with a memento, which Stauber promised to hang on his new office wall in Washington, D.C. This was Stauber's final meeting as a commissioner, after being elected to Congress.