Supervisors issue loan agreement for $3 million emergency comm tower bond
By Rick Morain
EDITOR’S NOTE: The board of supervisors story in the Jan. 26 Herald titled “Supervisors issue loan agreement for $3 million bond to cover career academy” was incorrect. The story incorrectly stated the purpose of the $3 million bond issue loan approved by the Greene County Supervisors. The bonds are not for the career academy. They’re for the new E911 communication tower and related radio equipment for the public safety vehicles in the county.
The Greene County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 23 moved ahead with the details of issuing more than $3 million in bonds to cover its cost for the career education center at the north edge of Jefferson.
The board authorized a loan agreement, provided for the issuance of the bonds, and approved levying a tax to pay the notes. In a separate action the supervisors approved UMB Bank of West Des Moines to serve as paying agent, note registrar, and transfer agent, approved the agreement covering those actions, and authorized the execution of the agreement.
PETS ON THE COURTHOUSE LAWN
The board received a draft policy from county attorney Thomas Laehn covering the courthouse building and grounds. The proposed policy, generally speaking, allows pets on the grounds only when they are licensed, have received required vaccinations, and are either confined to a container or on a leash no longer than six feet. The policy was to be considered at the board’s next meeting.
COUNTY BUDGET PROPOSALS
The board heard budget requests for 2023-24 from several county departments on Jan. 19.
• The county conservation board submitted a budget proposal for expenditures of $466,000 from the general fund in fiscal year 2023-24, an increase of four percent over the current fiscal year. A new pickup truck is included in those expenses.
Conservation director Tanner Scheuermann requested that the supervisors transfer $75,000 in camping receipts from the general fund, an increase of $25,000 above the $50,000 transferred in recent years. Those transfers would help fund several improvement projects, including a master plan and replacement walk bridge at Squirrel Hollow.
Scheuermann estimated that camping receipts will decline in 2023-24 to $160,000, compared to about $202,000 in the current year.
Expenditures in 2023-24 include $30,000 to repair bridge approaches in three locations and improving conditions on the bike trail. Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation will provide $36,000 for the countywide signage plan that began this fiscal year.
Conservation reserve expenditures are estimated at $150,000 for 2023-24 projects, somewhat more than the current fiscal year’s $136,000. State REAP income is estimated at $10,000, with expenditures estimated at $30,000.
Scheuermann added that the conservation board would like to hire a full-time naturalist, although that item is not included in the coming fiscal year’s budget.
• County attorney Laehn estimated general fund expenditures in the coming year for his office will total $392,300, compared with $349,500 this fiscal year. The board recently changed the assistant county attorney position from part-time to full-time. Most expenditures of the office not related to wages will remain relatively the same, with an increase requested for a new copier.
• Ambulance director Michelle Madsen estimated 2023-24 expenditures of that department at $785,500, up from the current $701,300. Additional overtime hours account for $58,000 of the requested increase. Ambulance revenues next fiscal year are estimated at $250,000.
• Billie Hoskins reviewed the county auditor and elections budget. 2023-24 expenditures are estimated at $377,000, compared to $337,400 in the current year. The budget reflects an increase in equipment for the purchase of a new copier/scanner, wages, benefits, and changes due to the type of elections to be held in fiscal year 2023-24: city, school and special vs. a general election.
• The board of supervisors’ own budget reflects an increase of $13,300 over the current year budget of $231,000, due mainly to proposed wage and benefit increases.
Expenditures in the general services 2023-24 budget are estimated at $297,100, an increase of $14,000 over the current fiscal year, including increases to auditing services and custodial wages and benefits.
• The medical examiner budget for 2023-24 remains the same at $25,000.
• Clerk of court expenditures for 2023-24 are estimated at $96,000, up from the current $88,000, with the increase to go for guardianship and conservatorship services.
• Michelle Fields reviewed the drainage clerk and information technology (IT) budgets for 2023-24. The drainage budget includes an increase of $2,400 to a total of $48,800, with the increase due to wage and benefits. The IT budget reflects an increase of $11,000 for software and infotech services; total expenditures for IT are pegged at $254,700, an overall increase of $14,800.
The board took no action on any of the proposed budgets, pending finalization of the county’s entire budget for 2023-24.
• Laehn reviewed a template he designed for joint 28E agreements between the county and non-profit groups that partner with the board for funding each year. The board informally agreed to proceed with the template as a model for the agreements.
The board approved signing a certification of cost allocation plan for Cost Advisory Services to be used for indirect cost recoveries in fiscal year 2023-24, which begins July 1.
• Laehn reported that a jury trial was to be held Tuesday, Jan. 24. A grand jury will be empaneled separately on Jan. 30 in case one is needed later. He also reported that plans are underway to extradite a guilty individual from Texas so that he can serve out a Greene County sentence. He added that it’s important to send such a message to those who may decide to flee their sentences.
• Laehn also said that more than 70 groups have discussed participating in the new community service program. He also said that guardianship/conservatorship attorney fees when the client is indigent have ranged from $68 to $240 per hour. He suggested putting out a request to attorney firms to determine which ones might negotiate with the county to receive a standard hourly rate.
The supervisors currently meet every Monday and Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the board room of the courthouse.
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