A number of events were cancelled this summer due to COVID-19. Both county fairs were cancelled, Memorial Day celebrations and Fourth of July celebrations were cancelled in 2020. There is a plan in place to help these events in 2021.

The 2021 budget for Burnett County has set aside $25,000 to help those events. Some of these cancelled events were the main fundraiser for dozens of groups across the county.

There will be a public hearing for the budget on Nov. 10 and it is slated to be passed on that same day. County Administrator Nate Ehalt gave details on the funds to the full county board of supervisors last week.

“These events are important to local businesses and the local economy,” Ehalt said. “But it is also crucial for our residents to get them in the community and enjoy these events.”

The funds are classified as a one-time expense of $25,000 and the process for receiving funds will follow protocol as tourism grants.

Ehalt also commented on sales tax numbers over the last several months since the pandemic began. Across the state sales tax numbers were declining due to lack of summer travel, that is not the case in Burnett County.

“Our sales tax funds are incredibly healthy,” Ehalt said. “People with second homes came here during quarantine and lockdown from March through April.”

He added this follows a similar trend across the country with people living the suburbs and urban areas moving to rural America.

Ehalt said, “Rural areas throughout this pandemic have seen a significant uptick. Minnesota suburban families are moving here.”

Budget numbers for 2021

• Total budget................ $28,276,567

• Total Levy....................$10,302,855

• Mill Rate........................3.53 (down from 3.62 in 2020)

• Invested $750,000 into road infrastructure

• No changes in entitlement spending