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Supervisors Hear Treasurer’s Semi-Annual Report

By Staff | Jan 16, 2012

While the national economy may be down, in general, the outlook is far more positive for Palo Alto County. The news came during the Jan. 10, meeting of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors.

Palo Alto County Treasurer Mary Hilfiker began the discussion, “As you can see from the Treasurer’s Semi-Annual Report, the cash on-hand and in banks, as of the close of business Dec. 31, 2011, was $14,634,870.01. I think it’s interesting to compare that to six months ago because six months ago, our total cash on-hand and in banks was $14,681,736.39. So, roughly, our cash on-hand and in banks is down $50,000 from all of the warrants and bills being paid for the road construction and road bonds issued. As far as I’m concerned, we are in great shape.”

Hilfiker noted that all of the expenses had been anticipated.

“I did cash in one road bond investment that was held at one of our local banks after discussing it with Joel [Fantz, County Engineer] because I knew we were getting closer to spring and I didn’t want that money tied up where he couldn’t get access to it to pay some of these big claims that will be coming through starting in the spring,” Hilfiker added.

Hilfiker explained that when the county engineer has bills come due, he places a claim through the Auditor’s office. The Auditor’s office then notifies the Treasurer, and the Treasurer transfers the money so that it is available to pay the claim.

“That’s great,” said Jerry Hofstad, supervisor.

Supervisor Keith Wirtz asked, “The warrants for construction, is that for the pipes and stuff that Secondary Roads is putting in?”

“It’s any bills associated with putting those in instead of hiring someone else to do it,” answered Ron Graettinger, supervisor. “Right now, we’re going to have more because he’s out there putting these in on the south bypass.”

“His [Fantz’s] warning to me six months ago was that he didn’t think he’d have enough money in the amount borrowed for the road bond issues to cover all the projects,” shared Hilfiker.

Graettinger noted the supervisors have one more bond that has yet to be issued.

“We have about a millioneight that we haven’t put out yet,” said Graettinger. “He told us that he was going to talk to us about how we’re going to get that one lined up because he said we need to get that one if we keep going with all of the work that we’ve got.”

“Does that make sense to you?” asked Wirtz.

“I understand where he’s coming from, but it’s going to cost the taxpayers more money and more interest,” said Hilfiker. “At the rate we’re going, and his warning to me was that he wouldn’t have enough.”

“We can go ahead and do the other bond and borrow some more money and stay within 1.6, which we promised,” said Hofstad.

Graettinger concluded, “We’ll find out a lot more when we get the bid back for what they’re doing in the south part of the county.”

In other business, the board approved a resolution supporting the Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) application for the Emmetsburg Five Island Community Center project. The supervisors committed a minimum of $10,000 in-kind over the course of the construction of the Community Center.

The board also adopted a construction evaluation resolution relating to the construction of a confinement feeding operation structure. Only counties that have adopted a construction evaluation resolution and submitted an adopted recommendation may contest the Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) decision regarding a specific application.

“Every January, the board of supervisors has to decide if they want to be involved in the program,” shared County Sanitarian and Zoning Officer Joe Neary. “The DNR calls me when they cite hog and cattle operations. If you don’t adopt this resolution, you can’t appeal.”

The supervisors approved the resolution with Ron Graettinger casting the sole “nay” vote.

Emergency Management Director Mark Hunefeld was also appointed to the E911 Board.