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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission begins budget work with special tax funds

MOUND CITY – Linn County Clerk David Lamb updated the Linn County Commissioners on upcoming budgets that he was working on. After discussing the budgets, the commissioners decided to look into them more – including the statutes that regulate them – before making a decision.

Lamb first presented Special Alcohol and Special Park and Recreation. He pointed out that neither one of them were tax funds, they are money the county collects through the alcoholic liquor tax from sales in the county. He said that his office receives an estimate from the state about how much money we are going to get from that.

“This is just based on the money we have coming in, so it should not affect our mill levy at all,” said Lamb.

The way it comes in is that half goes to the special alcohol fund and then is paid out to the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center (SEKMHC), one-fourth to special parks and recreation and one-fourth to the general fund, Lamb told the commissioners.

Lamb explained that SEKMHC, in addition to the other money it requests from the county, also receives money from the special alcohol fund.

The one-fourth to the parks is often used as grants for the cities and the remaining part that goes to general fund the county can just use for general fund expenditures.

Sheriff Kevin Friend said that they way he understood the statute covering that was that the money would be divided in thirds. One-third would go to the county’s general fund, one-third to a special parks and recreation fund and one-third to the special alcohol and drug programs fund.

Lamb then presented the fair building funds and premium funds budget. He said that these were statutory things that the county provides.

Lamb presented the fair building budget for $3,000 and the statutory fair premium budget. He said that by statute the fair board can request up to one mill on a fair mill levy, and the county is required to pay what it needs.

Lamb said that the county had been paying $15,000 but had bumped it up to $20,000. He said that $15,000 had already been sent this year.

Next, he showed them the historical society budget of $40,000. Commission Chair Danny McCullough said that he would like to talk to the board or committee of the historical society.

The last budget is $29,000 for the 4-H building that is owned by the county and the upkeep is paid for by the county. Lamb bases this budget on contractural costs from last year and what has been spent this year. The budget pays for utilities, insurance, and cleaning.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Heard from People’s Telecom Jennifer Leach about the broadband project People’s had completed using Linn County’s ARPA funds. Leach said that she just wanted the commissioners to know what had been done with the money.

Leach said that the “take rate” or people signing up along their installation was 80%, which was very high with minimal marketing that shows how much of a necessity this is to rural residents.

She told the commissioners that she was there to keep the relationship good by showing them that the project that the county provided money for was completed.

• Listened to a request from Prescott Manor owner Jessy Willard to put a question on the ballot about funding a nursing home. County Counselor Gary Thompson explained that the statute Willard was talking about would fund a county-operated nursing home. The commissioners told Willard that he would need to carry a petition to establish a hospital district.

• Heard a request from Tanglewood Lakes resident Don Bendetti about where the investigation was on the incident that occurred at Tanglewood Lakes. Bendetti also asked for a letter from Thompson stating that the roads in Tanglewood are private property.

Bendetti expressed his concern that some people had not been arrested and others had bailed out. Friend told Bendetti that his concerns were with the him as sheriff and the county prosecutor not the commissioners. Friend referred Bendetti to the victim witness coordinator at the prosecutor’s office who gives updates on cases.

• Approved a resolution for surplus public works property, street signs, to be donated to Holiday Lakes.

• Discussed remodeling of county buildings and heard from Appraiser Kathy Bridges and GIS Director Pam Cannon that they thought the process had slowed down and heard that changes were being made. Both department heads insisted that they needed to have their offices moved off of the second floor of the courthouse.

Bridges reminded the commissioners of the struggle it was for elderly or disabled people to come to their offices.

Cannon said that a year or so ago her GIS office had been written up by the state fire marshal for not having adequate electricity because it largely runs off of extension cords. She said she understood that the fire marshal let it slide by because there were planning to move off of the second floor.

• Received a proposed policy to review from Thompson with guidelines for Public Works to follow when asked for assistance by local government entities.

• Heard from Thompson that the Planning and Zoning commission time frame for sending back the zoning regulations could be extended because James Kaup, the attorney working with the planning board would not be able to come to Linn County for a couple more weeks due to health issues. The commissioners agreed to wait until Kaup was able to meet with the planning board and then the commissioners.

• Learned from Public Works Director Shaun West that some adjustments had to be made to the tipping floor project because the concrete on the east wall being in worse shape than expected. The contractor did not want to put steel in front of it in that condition so he repaired the concrete wall before putting up the metal barrier. The Solid Waste employees were able to paint the steel wall with the appropriate paint found in the Household Hazardous Waste materials.

• Heard from West that mold testing had been done at the old jail, and the results should be in later this week.

• Approved a bid for $10,257 to repair the previous water damage in the old district court building.

• Learned from West that students from the Southeastern Technical Academy for Rural Students (STARS) program would be helping with cleaning out the old cafe for the remodeling it into the new Pleasanton Senior Center.

• Made the decision to not replace an air conditioning unit at the old senior center but instead move the program into a smaller room in the building that had air conditioning. The cost of repairing the condenser on the air conditioning unit would have been $3,500 to $4,500. If this for some reason does not work out, West will contact the city about using the community building.

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