A revised 28E agreement with six county cities and the city of Adair to continue using the Guthrie County landfill was approved recently by the board of supervisors.
All be charged the same annual fee of $20 per capita. Now it varies as Panora, for example, pays $16.00 and Adair $20.00.
The agreement is for five years and begins July 1, 2019. Bayard, Bagley, Jamaica, Yale, Panora and Guthrie Center use the station along with Adair.
Jotham Arber, director of the transfer station, said the move will bring in a needed $14,000 more per year, He said he contacted all the cities, but had no response from Yale and Jamaica.
Another 28E Agreement - Sheriff Marty Arganbright brought a new 28E agreement to the board of supervisors for his office to provide law enforcement for Guthrie Center as the county and that city
are nearing the end of a similar four-year agreement.
Cost to the city for the first year will be $235,834, which includes the cost of
a new vehicle ($24,700). The salaries of two deputy sheriffs will now be paid the same as other deputies.
“I think it’s a win-win situation,” Arganbright said of the agreement, explaining it costs Guthrie Center much less for law enforcement and allows him have two more deputies to better cover the county.
Guthrie Center has approved the agreement. Panora and Stuart have police departments.
Other cities in the county except Yale and Jamaica have a law enforcement contract to pay the county a certain amount, say $2,000 or $3,500 a year.
Approval of the agreement was tabled by the board as the county attorney will look it over.
Steve Brannan, an observer at the meeting, noted the supervisors had assessed cities for garbage collection. Why not do the same for law enforcement instead of the sheriff going around begging?
Pave Sage Trail? - County engineer Josh Sebern provided the supervisors with traffic counts done in the Lake Panorama area, notably Sage Trail. Sage is a gravel county road east of the golf
course that Sebern said is washboarding. The count showed a daily traffic average of 281 vehicles.
Sebern said studies show hard surfacing of roads should be considered when the count is above 200.
A five percent salary increase for elected county officials was recommended by the Guthrie County Compensation Board to the board of supervisors, who have the final say on the percentage.
If adopted, the five percent hike would mean an additional $17,100 in salaries. Current salaries are: Attorney - $88,291, Sheriff - $70.472, Auditor - $56.402, Treasurer - $55,765, Recorder - $55,768 and Supervisors - $27,494.
The comp board is made up of individuals chosen by elected officials and are: David Van Ahn - attorney, Lyle Laughery (chairman) and Sandi Lee - supervisors, John Tews - sheriff, Barry Monaghan - auditor. Lisa Calvert - treasurer and
Jamie Patrick - recorder.
Van Ahn presented the recommendation last Tuesday and said it was made to bring salaries in line with area counties. A 33-year veteran of the insurance industry, Van Ahn said the salary increase is doable if health insurance costs
Asked by supervisor Mike Dickson where a savings might be, “(Not) paying $34,000 to an administrator,” he answered. He also disputed Wellmark’s claim of a loss ratio of 165 percent. That was compared to the premium cost ($141,379) and didn’t take into account $163,373 paid by the county and employees toward claims, said Van Ahn.
“The cost has been a great deal lower than other counties,” supervisor Everett Grasty said in defending the county’s coverage. “These are the best premiums we can get,” said Dickson.
“There are savings to be made,” said Van Ahn. You have to get someone to tell you all the facts of what’s going on.”
As to the salary hike, “It’s not I think they shouldn’t have a raise, but I question the five percent,” said Grasty. Working near home and not driving to Des Moines for work is a plus, he related.
“We’re not competing with other counties (based on salaries) for employees,” said Dickson.
Compensation board chairman Laughery said one member voted no on the five percent increase and he passed. “As a private individual, you’re going to have a helluva time selling the general public,” he told the supervisors.
Summing up, Grasty said, “It’s difficult for me to find that balance between taxpayers and employees (when it comes to salaries).”
The matter of the county paying an increased tax levy to help finance resurfacing of the runway at the Guthrie County Regional Airport came up a second time last Wednesday before the board of supervisors.
Costing a projected $3.8 million, the Federal Aviation Administration will pay 90 percent of this amount if 10 percent --$380,000 -- is paid locally.
The airport is operated by the Guthrie County Airport Authority (GCAA) board. Panora, Guthrie Center and the county help support it financially. The GCAA is asking the three taxing bodies to increase their giving
so $380,000 can be borrowed, to be paid off in 15 years. The three are in the process of drawing up a 28E agreement
It’s hoped work can start this spring. The 28-year old 60 x 3,400 foot runway is cracking and has popouts. The FAA said the airport has average of 57 planes in and out each week.
“I can’t imagine letting an airport go away because we need $380,000 on a $3.8 million project,” said GCAA board president Marshall Burgess at the earlier meeting.
Projected cost to the county would be seven cents per $1,000 assessed valuation and the cities eight cents.
Supervisors Everett Grasty and Jack Lloyd spoke in favor of levy hike. “It’s kind of sad to leave $3 million on the table, said Lloyd, adding later, “It’s not like we have something out of the ordinary. Every county
has an airport.”
“Do we want an airport, or do we not want an airport?” asked Grasty, “I look to the future ... growth is moving this way, we need infrastructure to support that growth” He cited an airport as a positive for the
county when it comes to economic development.
Cliff Carney and Mike Dickson complained about airport management. “I wish you’d had some fundraisers a few years and put money away. I feel bad you didn’t.” He also said debts should have been paid down rather
than saving some money for future projects. “When I buy something I work hard to pay it off before another project.”
“I’m not going to tell somebody in my district we can’t do anything to your road because we’re funding an airport.” He charged the GCAA sought $20,000 ten years ago to be self-sustaining and now they want more. “When
will it all end?” he asked.
C.W, Thomas cited the airport as a factor in holding the costs of aerial spraying down for farmers,
“I want the county to have a healthy in-fracture for jobs, said resident Brian Johnson. “It’s wise to make sure we maintain the airport and leverage these federal dollars.”
Panora is on board with the project, said city administrator Lisa Grossman. The city would prefer to pay its $7,500 annual cost from Lost Option Sales Tax revenue rather than from a tax levy on property.
The project would also include replacing lights, the apron and taxiway.
The airport has no regular employees. Work is contracted or done by the GCAA board of Lance Levias, Alan Darrow, Matt Peary and Burgess. There’s one vacancy.
Income is from tax levies ($55,000), hangar rental, gas sales and farmland rental. Planes can’t be charged to land.