The Cherokee County Board of Supervisors approved the 2011-2012 county budget on Tuesday. The $11,867,688 budget was approved after a Public Hearing during which no opposition to the proposed budget was raised.
Of the total County expenditures, four percent ($419,225) of the county budget was allocated for Government Services, 13 percent ($1,526,967) for Administration, 16 percent ($1,824,121) for Public Safety & Legal Services, three percent ($348,057) for Physical Health & Social Services, 12 percent ($1,374,969) for Mental Health, six percent ($723,290) for County Environment & Education, 36 percent ($4,226,059) for Roads & Transportation, and 12 percent ($1,425,000) for Secondary Road Projects.
In other business, Cherokee County Sheriff Dave Scott addressed the Board. Scott was concerned about negative comments he had been receiving and believes are coming from the Courthouse. He first addressed last week's Chronicle Times article that reported the bewildering attitude toward why a technician was "denied entry to the Law Enforcement Center" to install a live feed of the Courthouse security cameras.
Scott wanted it known that when the technician came to the LEC the jail was on lockdown for one hour and asked him to come back then. According to Scott, the technician said he was unable to do that and would reschedule at a later time to do what he needs too.
Scott wanted to know how the story got blown out of proportion. Supervisor Terry Graybill stated that he was informed that the technician was turned away by Communication Supervisor Dave Skou as well, as stated to the Board by Cherokee County Auditor Kris Glienke at last week's meeting.
This led Scott to say that everyone needs to stop all the hear-say that's been going around. "This kind of information is untrue and false. This kind of press doesn't do any good," said Scott.
The discussion continued on why the security cameras are becoming bigger issues than what is should be. Scott said he wanted to put to rest once and for all the fear that has been addressed of any video copies being made of comings and goings at the Courthouse.
"There has been only one copy ever made from the Courthouse surveillance system and that was for a case involving an accident at the Courthouse and was later used as evidence," said Scott, who was adamant in saying that no one is recording any one.
He was slightly agitated in wondering who was perpetuating the misconceptions. The Board was only aware of one person coming forward to the Board with concerns at a previous meeting.
Cherokee County Human Resources Director Kristi Petersen then spoke up and stated that she had seen a confidential report stating that the cameras may have been used in a legal case.
Scott asked Petersen of how she knew of that information and she told Scott that she had read it in that confidential report. Scott said he was familiar with that case and was again adamant that no cameras were used at any time on any one and repeated again that information was not correct.
One other issue Scott wanted to clear the air about was his department's State Audit response. It was reported last week that the Board rejected the Sheriff's Office annual State Audit Report. The Board received a letter from the State asking for the figures from a trade the Sheriff's Office made in 2009 for two vehicles traded for computer equipment.
The Board was under the impression that the Sheriff's Office never reported those trade figures due to the letter from the State and then never hearing a response from the Sheriff's Office.
Scott explained that his office had turned in its State Audit on March 1 and nothing was said at that time of anything wrong or no one asked him about the value of the trade. Furthermore, Scott said that value was reported two years ago in the 2009/2010 State Audit. He then wanted the matter cleared up.
Chairman Jeff Simonsen then stated that it must be some kind of error of the State then. Scott then asked the Board to call him in the future when they have questions and he could be there in just a few minutes to clarify their questions.
Peterson was next on the agenda and updated the Board on her search to fill the new position of the Assessor's former Geographic Information Systems (GIS) position that will be combined with an Information Technician (IT) position.
She presented the Board with a written job description and started adverting for that position this week. Petersen told the Board that she was giving what she thought was just enough information for qualified individuals but not enough information to overwhelm perspective candidates.
At this point, County Assessor Bob Hart, who looked over the description, joined her and felt that Petersen had covered the scope of it. Graybill suggested that Petersen check with colleges for outgoing graduates who may be interested in the position. She said she would check in to that and other job fair type events.
Once finding a prospective applicant, Petersen stated that she was not above taking them to the Assessor's Office and having Hart giving the applicants a test on the computer systems to see how they would fit in.
Peterson also reported that in the next couple of weeks she will be issuing wallet sized cards that have the Work Compensation Nurse's incident report number on them to be kept in County vehicles and employee's wallets to help any one who needs to file a claim. She stated that on average it is two or three days before reports are filed to the nurse and this would help with the lag time.
Cherokee County Recorder Dawn Jones Coombs updated the Board on a new mandate from the U.S. State Department that will restrict passport agents, such as the workers at the County Recorders Office, from searching for a birth certificates while issuing a passport. Coombs explained that they want to separate the duties and that would mean separating the office space.
After May 1 anyone seeking a passport can still come to the Recorder's Office and one of the staff will take them to a separate part of the Courthouse. The Board offered its room due to it being empty most of the week, to apply and receive a passport.