Supervisors Discuss Funding Shortfall In General Relief Office
The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors met on Monday, Jan. 7, when they discussed a funding shortfall in the General Relief Office as well as approval of a new employee in the Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office.
Maureen Sandberg, Director of General Relief for Palo Alto County, informed the Supervisors of a couple of monetary issues.
“We received a notice from the public defender’s office that they have new hourly rates now for any mental health/indigent attorney fees. It’s $60 an hour. We haven’t been told that we have to go by that yet. I just wanted to forewarn you.”
Sandberg explained that according to Iowa Code, the maximum that the county can pay is $150 for a court appointed attorney, which is based on a $50 per hour rate.
“In the future, they may request that we pay $180 maximum based on the $60 per hour rate,” said Sandberg. “I’m not changing until I’m forced to do it.”
Sandberg also informed the board that she had received a notice from the state regarding community services funding.
“We’re not getting a dime because they ran out of money,” said Sandberg. “I think this happened because there were so many counties under 10 percent with their fund balances.”
“Does this surprise you?” questioned Supervisor Ed Noonan.
“Yes, it does. It surprised a lot of people,” Sandberg responded. “Evidently, we were supposed to get about $115,000. That’s not the total, though. The total we that should have received was $257,000 if we had had a low fund balance.”
Sandberg went on to explain that her department’s fund balance was 23.18 percent.
“Based on our fund balance and previous years, we should have had a portion of that–$257,000,” Sandberg said. “This is shorting us $116,000. What we were told to do is figure out how much we would have received had there been enough money, and then let our legislators know how much we’re short, and see if the legislature will come up with more money when they reconvene.”
“We need to look at if there are services that need to be cut, since we don’t have the money,” suggested Ron Graettinger, supervisor.
“I’m kind of considering cutting work activities, especially for individuals who live in an apartment of their own and don’t need daily activities because they aren’t living in a group home,” answered Sandberg.
In other business, Assistant County Attorney Steve Swanson was on hand to ask for the Supervisors’ approval for a new hire to fill a vacancy in the Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office. The Supervisors approved the part-time employment of Cassandra Tyrell as secretary in the County Attorney’s Office and approved her wage at $7.50 per hour.
The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors will be led by Supervisor Leo Goeders following the reorganizational meeting of the board last Wednesday, Jan. 2. Supervisor Leo Goeders of Emmetsburg was elected as the Chairman of the Board during the session, which was occupied with several appointments during the first working day of the new year, Wednesday, Jan. 2.
The board went to work with routine appointments, appointing Ed Noonan as Chair Pro-Tem for the 2008 year. Joel Fantz was re-appointed as Palo Alto County Engineer for 2008, and several resolutions were introduced and adopted, authorizing Fantz, acting on behalf of the county, to close secondary roads for scheduled construction projects, as well as closing roads temporarily under special circumstances such as maintenance or natural disasters. A Right-Of-Way compliance agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation was approved and Fantz was also authorized to execute the certification of completion of work and final acceptance with plans and specifications in connection with all Farm to Market and Federal Aid construction projects in Palo Alto County.
The Supervisors introduced and approved a resolution approving official depositories for various county officers. Auditor Gary Leonard, Sheriff Dennis Goeders, and Recorder Bonnie Whitney were all authorized by resolution to deposit money in Wells Fargo Bank in Emmetsburg. Whitney and Goeders were also authorized by resolution to deposit county funds in Iowa Trust & Savings Bank in Emmetsburg. The Supervisors designated the following banks to be depositories for the County Treasurer’s funds: Wells Fargo Bank, Emmetsburg; Iowa Trust & Savings Bank, Emmetsburg; Bank Plus, Graettinger; West Bank, West Bend; Iowa State Bank, Ruthven; Laurens State Bank, Emmetsburg; and Farmers State Bank, West Bend.
Tim McCain of Emmetsburg was appointed county tax agent for the upcoming year, and the Supervisors also approved re-appointment for themselves to serve on various committees and boards during the session.
Supervisor Jerry Hofstad was appointed to the North Central Emergency Response Commission for 2008 with Leo Goeders as alternate. Keith Wirtz was appointed to the Drainage Advisory Board with Jerry Hofstad as alternate, and Leo Goeders was appointed as liaison to the E911 Board with Jerry Hofstad as alternate. The Supervisors re-appointed Leo Goeders to the Third Judicial District for Palo Alto County, and Ron Graettinger was re-appointed to the Decat. Board.
Also, Supervisor Ed Noonan was appointed to the DHS Advisory Board and Ron Graettinger was appointed alternate. The board appointed Jerry Hofstad to a seat on the Cherokee Advisory Board and Maureen Sandberg as alternate. Supervisor Hofstad was also appointed to the Season’s Board with Keith Wirtz as alternate. Keith Wirtz was then appointed to the ISP Board and Jerry Hofstad was appointed alternate.
Ron Ludwig, Edna O’Connor, and Peg McNally were appointed to the Mental Health Appeals Board, and Ed Noonan was appointed to the Northwest Iowa Consortium Board with Ron Graettinger as alternate. The Supervisors then appointed Ed Noonan to the R.I.D.E. Board. Keith Wirtz was appointed to the H.I.P.A.A. Compliance Board, as well.
Several other appointments were made by the Supervisors to the county’s Eminent Domain Compensation Board during the session. Among appointed business persons were: Ted Wentzel, John Spies, JoAnn Schoning, Paul Freeman, Jeff Terveer, Lonna Hess, Mike Gehrt, and Ron Larson. Among farmers were: Ray Brown, Gerald Thatcher, Wm. S. Brown, Hans Appel, Tom Vaughan, Robert Darrah, Kathy Cramer, Jerome Kuyper, and Craig Thu. City and township property owners appointed to the board included: Ralph Frederick, Frances Schealler, Antone Clausen, Bill Burdick, Jay Frerk, William Nelson, and David Neilson. Appointed realtors were: Jerry Besch, Mary Moser, Vic Johnson, Robert Banwart, Mike Wentzel, Jerry Holland, Norlyn Stowell, Roger Wagner, and Brian Jackson.
The Supervisors also designated “The Reporter” and “The Democrat,” as well as the combined “West Bend Journal,” “Graettinger Times,” and “Ruthven Zipcode” as the official county newspapers for the coming year.
Bonnie Anliker of West Bend was re-appointed to serve on the Regional Tourism Council for the coming year, while Dr. Frank Veltri was re-appointed to a three-year term on the Palo Alto County Local Health Board. Tim O’Leary was re-appointed to the Palo Alto County Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment for a three-year term.
Tony Streit was re-appointed to serve on the Palo Alto County Conservation Board, while Supervisor Ron Graettinger was re-appointed to serve on the Upper Des Moines Opportunity Board with Leo Goeders as alternate. The Supervisors also set a rate of $8 per hour plus mileage as allowed by the Internal Revenue Service for Township Trustees compensation, and also established a minimum fee of $20 for meetings of the trustees.