Of the many items on the agenda at Tuesday's regular meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors, none was discussed more than the issue of the security cameras in the halls and offices of the Cherokee County Courthouse.
The cameras that were installed in 2006 have kept 30-day records of footage, which is stored in the County Auditor's office. Mainly, the cameras are used for insurance reasons in case of an accident on county property, or used in evidence in case of vandals or any number of criminal cases that could potentially occur at the Courthouse.
In recent weeks, the issue of public safety has been brought to the Board's attention by County Assessor Bob Hart and County Sheriff Dave Scott. Both have addressed concerns that there is no live monitoring of the hallways at the Courthouse. Concerns of a nightmare situation of a crazed gunman shooting or holding county employees hostage were among the public safety arguments brought up by Scott. Scott told the Board that a live monitoring of the Courthouse would help responding officers in the apprehension and the monitoring an event of said madman.
However, the question of who would be the person monitoring the live feed was now on the table. Since the Courthouse is located in the city of Cherokee, response of any incidents at the Courthouse would fall to the Cherokee Police Department. With most deputes scattered throughout the county the Board agreed that it would be a faster response from the CPD.
County offices are equipped with panic buttons and both the Cherokee Sheriff Office and the CPD respond to the Courthouse if the buttons pressed.
The Board had the panic button pressed to see what the response time was and members of both the Sheriff's Office and the CPD responded in a time of two minutes and 40 seconds.
Scott argued that the live feed of the security cameras should be placed at the Cherokee County Communication Center in the Sheriff's Department so during a situation they can monitor events and relay to both county and city officers.
After discussing the issue at length, including hearing a heated exchange between Scott and Auditor Kris Glienke over the camera system feed, the Board ultimately approved a live feed to be placed at the Cherokee Communication Center. However, it would be a view only of the Courthouse. The recording of activities will still be housed at the County Auditor's office.
The Board also held a public hearing to lease county property in Section 20 of Spring Township. The two bids for the estimated 25 acres came from Doug Stowater ($225 per acre) and Neal Gustafson ($180 per acre). The property was leased to Stowater for three years.
Cherokee County Engineer Dave Shanahan sought the Boards approval to have the final payment made in the estimated amount of $30,000 of state funds for the recent C-38 overlay project. His request was approved.
Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation Director Mark Buschkamp addressed the Board to have their approval to draft a letter to request admission to join Northwest Planning, a non-profit organization that distributes funds and loans to low income families to have their homes fixed up or repaired. The Board gave the go-ahead for Buschkamp to draft the letter.
County Human Resources Director Kristi Peterson updated the Board that her office has had its phone hooked up. County employees may now reach Peterson at 225-6305.
The Board also approved the final payout of employee vacation and compensation for Curtis Cockburn, who recently left the County Assessors office's Geographic Information Systems position. The Board approved the amount of $5,507 in payout for Cockburn.
The Board and Hart agreed to make the new position a County position and add the job description of Information Technician and Geographic Information Systems positions to the new position. Hart and Petersen will work together to fill the vacancy.
In other business, the Board approved a three percent wage increase for County Roads Superintendent Larry Walker, bringing his current annual salary to $55,270, and a three percent wage increase for Construction/Project Manager Brandon Billings, binging his current annual salary to $42,230.
The Board also addressed the feasibility of the Slough bill program and may set a public hearing in the summer .