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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Appraiser plans to step up property inspections in 2023

MOUND CITY – At the Monday, Dec. 19, Linn County Commission meeting, department heads met with the commissioners to explain transfers and purchase orders for their end-of-year budget changes.

The commissioners approved the transferring of funds from 2022 budgets by the following departments and authorized County Clerk David Lamb to make adjustments if they are needed.

Linn County Appraiser Kathy Bridges told the commissioners that she was requesting that $20,000 be transferred to the reappraisal fund, mainly for the purchase of a new vehicle to replace the 2007 vehicle.

Since she did not think, there was much trade in value on the 2007, she is planning on keeping it through spring and early summer so that she could get three teams out in the field instead of two to help catch up on appraisals. She said that when it gets hot out, the 2007 cannot be used because of air conditioning problems.

Bridges said that it is necessary for her to get more people out because the department is behind on appraisals and must catch up. Counties work on a state mandated six-year timeline to insure every piece of property is appraised. That means that each year 17% of the appraisals should be done.

Bridges reported that Linn County has fallen behind because only 7% of the appraisals were done in 2018, 15% in 2019, and 13% in 2020, so they are catching up. In 2022, the appraiser’s department did 23% of the properties for a total of 4,468 property reinspections. In 2023, the appraisers office will be required to reinspect 5,770 properties.

Bridges told the commissioners that while the reappraisal fund has some money in it now for a new vehicle, she had been waiting to put out a request for proposal on a new vehicle until Public Works Director Shaun West could help her. Because of that, she said she did not know how much a vehicle would cost yet.

Bridges told the commissioners that other items that will need to come out of the reappraisal fund will either be computers that need to be replaced or tablets for her staff. She said that other appraiser offices are using tablets in the field because there is so much paperwork to carry with them.

Other reports from department heads were:

• Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Randy Hegwald explained that the money he was wanting to transfer over to special equipment was for purchasing fire trucks. He said that they did not purchase a truck this year due to the switchover in staff. He said that the next truck he would be replacing was either a 1998 or 1999 model.

Hegwald also said that there were two tinders that needed to be replaced. He explained that the tinders had to be certified to show that the pumps produced so many gallons per minute and that a couple of the trucks were getting close to not pumping the amount that was required.

• GIS/Mapping Director Pam Cannon, who said that she has large equipment that she tries to stretch out as long as possible and she does not have it in her budget to purchase it each year so at the end of the year when she has extra money she tries to save it that way when something does break down, the money is already there. She is wanting $5,000 in a purchase order to cover software maintenance and replication fees.

• Economic Development Director and Airport Manager Jessica Hightower had two transfer requests. One was for $10,000 to be moved to the economic development capital reserve fund for improvements to the industrial park. The second was $20,000 for future airport improvements.

• Kristy Schmitz, Register of Deeds, asked that a purchase order of $5,000 be put into next year’s budget for software maintenance and replication fees.

• Public Works Director West asked that $10,000 be put into the Planning and Zoning capital equipment fund for vehicle replacement.

West also asked that $300,000 be moved to special machinery Road and Bridge to purchase trucks and backhoes to catch up on the equipment schedule.

West asked that $350,000 be moved to Special Road and Bridge to cover the costs of the match on the Hell’s Bend Bridge project, roadway project near the levee, and wing walls on some of the bridges.

For Solid Waste, West requested that $25,000 be moved to the Equipment Reserve in anticipation of purchasing a walking floor trailer or containers.

• Linn County Treasurer Janet Kleweno requested that her money be made into purchase orders for postage.

• County Clerk David Lamb explained that he was doing a purchase order to transfer $500,000 over to the 2023 budget for employee health benefits. Lamb explained that he has to budget so much each year to make sure the county can cover its self-funded costs and this is what was left over in 2022. This will help with claims for 2023.

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