The first weekly meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors in 2013 began Tuesday with County Magistrate Lisa Mazurek swearing in three new supervisors who were elected to their positions in the November election.
The Chronicle Times, Marcus News and Aurelia Star were named as official County newspapers, and the Supervisors voted to leave the employee mileage rate at 45-cents a mile.
In other organizational business, the Supervisors went over the list of committees and each supervisor chose the committees on which they will serve. They also approved Jeff Simonsen as the Third Judicial District Director, approved the 28 member Eminent Domain Board for 2013, and approved Resolution #2013-01, to follow the Master Matrix of the DNR.
As their final organizational item, the Supervisors made the following appointments:
Three-year terms on the Board of Health, Timothy Rice and Dawn Ruehle; a 5- year term on the Cherokee County Conservation Board, Mark Pierce; four-year terms as Township Trustees : Gary Anderson, Afton Township; Daryl Ducommun, Cedar Township; Glenn Cave and Marvin Zoch, Cherokee Township; Dave Hinkeldey, Diamond Township; Mark Johnson and LeDen Pingel, Liberty Township; Bob Parker, Adam Timmerman and Scott Carnes, Pilot Township; Greyling Fredericksen, Kirk Nelson and Larry Reilly, Pitcher Township; Kyle Prunty and Chuck Peters, Sheridan Township; Kenneth Todd and Mel Reinert, Silver Township; Kim Skadeland, Spring Township; and Neal Rupp and Jerry Slota , Willow Township.
Appointed as Township Clerks for a 4-year term were Douglas Radke, Diamond Township; Roger Redig, Pitcher Township; Gerald Smith, Silver Township; and Sharon Bennink, Spring Township. The Supervisors are still seeking an appointee for the Sheridan Township Clerk position.
In new business, the Supervisors received the Quarterly Revenue Report for 10/01/2012- 12/28/2012 from the Sheriff's Office. and the Department showed a year-end balance of $32,805.31. The report was approved by the Supervisors.
The 911 Communications Center Director David Skow appeared before the Board to express his concerns about the 911 Phone System. The current system was purchased in 1992 and was "top of the line" at the time, but now, 20 years later, Skow says technological advances have virtually made the system unable to handle future developments. A new top of the line system would cost $90,990.77, about the same price paid in 1992, but capable of much more than the current system. With the current system, if there were a breakdown, only half of the county would be reachable.
Skow said that he has $45,000 in his budget that could be put towards purchasing a new 911 phone system, but that would leave another $46,000 to complete the purchase. No action was taken at the meeting, but the Supervisors felt that there is a definite need, and both Skow and the Supervisors will continue to explore options and discuss them at a future meeting.
County Engineer Dave Shanahan brought the final pay estimate for road project #BROS-CO18(64)-5F-18 to the Board for their approval, and received it.
Human Resources Director Kristi Petersen discussed an Early Retirement Policy for county employees. There is not a specific policy at this time, in regards to such items as insurance coverage for retired employees and their families, and since several county employees will be reaching retirement age over the next few ears, the Board agreed that a policy needs to be developed as soon as possible, prior to these employees choosing to retire. The Code of Iowa states that early retirees are eligible to be on the county's insurance plan until the age of 65, but Cherokee County needs to develop a policy as to what options they will have available to these early retirees. Petersen presented sample policies from other counties for the Supervisors to study, and she will be on the agenda again at the January 15th Board meeting for further discussion.
The Supervisors concluded their meeting with a discussion of the FY Budget process. Supervisors Leeds and Mongan were chosen to be the Supervisor representatives in upcoming negotiation meetings.
Not all Department Heads have submitted their FY14 requests yet, and they will be advised to please do so as soon as possible, as the Supervisors want to get an idea of what the maximum amount they would need to budget for is, before they begin the process of paring the requests down to a workable budget.