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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

County official seeks ways to boost income from park

Updated: Jan 13

By Charlene Sims,

MOUND CITY – On Monday, Jan. 8, Commissioner Danny McCullough once again questioned why the Linn County Park did not make more money as the year to date park report was presented for December 2023. The park’s gain for the year of 2023 was $11,410. 

Commission Chair Jason Hightower explained that the reason the income was that low was because $35,000 was transferred to capital outlay at the end of the year.

McCullough asked if the employee benefits could be taken out of the park budget as an expense.

County Clerk David Lamb said that was very difficult with the county’s self-funded insurance plan, and getting into that would be getting into personal information. Lamb estimated that benefits would be about $50,000 for the two full-time employees at the park.

No other department in the county has the employee benefits shown in their budgets.

Lamb told the commissioners that if they looked back over the last 20 years at the park budget, the positive end-of-year amount would be negative if employee benefits were taken out. Lamb said that the park would probably never pay for itself.

“We can try,” said McCullough.

McCullough asked where the money was coming from for cleaning out the lagoons. Lamb said some came out of the park money, the contingency fund, and some other places. 

In other business, the commissioners:

• Changed next week’s meeting to Tuesday, Jan. 16, because of the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday.

•  Spent an hour in executive session, evaluating department heads Randy Hegwald, Amanda Snyder, Shaun West and Chris Martin.

• Reorganized the commission making Jason Hightower commission chair and Jim Johnson the vice-chair.

• Approved a minor plat for GTGH LLC at 19892 Vail Road making four plats. The plats are 3.69 acres, 10 acres, 60.38 acres and 80 acres. The planning board had approved the plat on a unanimous vote. After the planning commission meeting, Planning and Zoning Director Darin Wilson was informed by a neighbor that the 80 acres was going to be used for hunting area. 

Wilson talked with the  owner and said they were working with Ducks Unlimited and making a marshy area to attract ducks. He informed the commissioners of this before they approved the plat.

• Approved current Planning and Zoning Commissioner Rich Morrell to remain chair of the solar regulations ad hoc committee until it was completed. The planning commission will reorganize on Tuesday, Jan. 9, and Morrell will no longer be chair because of time limitations. (That meeting was cancelled because of icy weather, and the planning commission will now likely reorganize at its February meeting.)

• Learned from Public Works Director Shaun West that the state will re-let the bids for the Hell’s Bend Bridge project.

• Discussed the bids for the on-call engineer and will make a decision next week after West offers a recommendation. West handed out a spreadsheet for the commissioners to look over as there were other services that had been determined to be beneficial to the county.

• Approved an invoice for painting in the old district court building that was $1,400 higher than expected. The total cost was $5,200.

• Learned that A-1 Pump and Jet Services will not be able to complete the park lagoon project until spring.

•Learned from West that Feb. 15 will probably be the completion date of the Pleasanton Senior Center.

• West discussed the landfill income from fees was nearly  $55,700 from 338 commercial solid waste loads with a net weight of 12,047 tons. 

• Approved burial permit requests for water lines from Miami County Rural Water District No. 3 for locations 21862 County Road 1077 and 78 West 2300 Road in rural Parker.

• Approved a burial permit for Linn County RWD No. 2 for water lines located 300 feet west on 1000 from Vernon Road and 700 feet east of Umphenour Road on City Lake Road. 

• Discussed revamping the bids for mowing county property next year. 

• Reappointed three economic development committee members Tiffany Nelson, District 1; Elaine Jaeger, District 2; and Matt Akes, District 3.

• Appointed Brenda Tollett to a vacant position on the economic development committee.                                                   

• Approved putting out the county hay and farm leases for two-year contracts after discussion. 

• Gave approval for Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower to apply for a High-Risk Rural Roads grant for $470,000 for safety features like striping and signageon County Road 1095 between 1150 and 1650 Roads. The county’s share of the cost would be $104,000.

• Heard from District 3 road foreman Dennis Hardy about purchasing a service agreement for the road grader that had tipped over in an accident. The commission decided not to approve the agreement.

• Learned from asphalt road foremen Tod Moeller about the planned asphalt projects for Linn County in 2024. Moeller said he understood the concerns of residents and he would like to work on additional striping over the next two years. 


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