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County Budgets Are Approved

By Staff | Mar 12, 2009

Palo Alto County’s Supervisors approved a budget of $21million for fiscal year 2009-2010 during a public hearing Tuesday, March 10. No public comment was received on the budget, which was approved as part of the weekly meeting of the supervisors.

In other items of business, the supervisors were presented with a tax suspension request from Daniel Barnett, on behalf of Jean M. Watts of Ruthven. Barnett requested the supervisors suspend the taxes on Watts’ residence at 1303 Washington Street in Ruthven.

“Mrs. Watts applied for and received the elderly credit of $208 for last year’s taxes on the property,” Palo Alto County Treasurer Mary Hilfiker told the board. “She is in a nursing home in Spencer at this time, but has already applied for the elderly credit for this year’s taxes. Under the Iowa Code, if a property owner is receiving tax abatement or an elderly credit, you cannot suspend the taxes. Your action is pretty much cut and dried according to the Code.”

Supervisor Jerry Hofstad moved to deny the suspension request and the motion was carried unanimously.

Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz presented the board with a Federal Aid agreement for the Federal Economic Stimulus funds that the county will be receiving for the widening and resurfacing of County Road N20 north of Ruthven. Bids for the project will be let by the Iowa Department of Transportation in the next few weeks and work will be done this summer on the stretch of roadway that was formerly known as Highway 341.

Fantz also advised the board that due to the increase in the minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25, he was requesting a raise of $.25 an hour for summer employee wages for the Secondary Road Department.

“We would propose raising the summer wage a quarter an hour, with the starting wage being $8.50 per hour,” Fantz said.

The board approved the salary adjustment on a unanimous vote.

Palo Alto County Assessor Lois Naig held her budget hearing at 10:30 a.m., but it took some doing to come up with a quorum of the County Conference Board before the hearing could convene. With the County Supervisors present, along with Ken Smith, Mayor Pro-Tem of Graettinger and Don Hagen, representing the Emmetsburg School Board. Naig began calling to find another mayor who would be able to attend the meeting to create a quorum. Attempts to reach Emmetsburg Mayor John Schad were unsuccessful, but Naig was able to reach Cylinder Mayor Pro-Tem Deb Weisbrod, who participated in the meeting via a conference call.

With a quorum in attendance, the minutes of the Feb. 10 meeting of the Conference Board were approved and the assessor’s proposed budget of $216,676 was approved by the board without any public comment or comment from the board members.

In a final act, Lois Naig was re-appointed to a six-year term as the Palo Alto County Assessor, after the re-appointment had been tabled at the Feb. 10 meeting following a motion by Emmetsburg Mayor Schad, who felt more public notice needed to be given in regards to the re-appointment.