With no public comments received, the Marion County Board of Supervisors approved its Fiscal Year 2013 budget. A copy of the budget was printed in the Legal Notices of this newspaper, prior to Tuesday's public hearing and action taken by the board.
Supervisor Mark Raymie said the board has spent approximately two months, poring over each department's budget. He and the rest of the board thanked department heads for their willingness to closely examine their budgets, to find efficiency, before bringing them to the board. The supervisors' goal was to stick to core services and questioning why things are done that are not traditional county services.
"Our county needs to be able to function on what we produce in Marion County," Raymie said. The new budget will produce a net reduction in expenditures, according to Raymie. The board allocated money from the Local Option Sales and Services Tax to provide property tax relief. Some of the LOSST money will be used for capital improvements as well.
In a separate action, the board agreed to support the City of Pella's request for $25,000 for its new sports park. Pella sought $5,000 a year for five years.
Raymie suggested using LOSST money for this, but the question was raised by Supervisor Craig Agan whether or not using LOSST would jeopardize Pella's opportunities for matching grants. Agan indicated that some of Pella's exterior funding for the project requires support from the Board of Supervisors. More investigation will be done to determine which fund should be used to pay for the County's contribution to the project. No representatives from Pella were present at Tuesday's meeting.
The board took no action regarding a request for office space, from Mid-Iowa Community Action. This organization offers services to help families in Marion County. Agan was concerned about the hold harmless agreement between Mid-Iowa Community action and the County; it does not have specific numbers.
Assistant County Attorney Ben Hayek drafted an agreement. County Attorney Ed Bull offered to have his office negotiate an agreement to present to the supervisors. Agan thought this was more of an operational issue and should be handled by the supervisors.
"It's not just an operational issue," Raymie said. Bull suggested that his office could rewrite an agreement if Agan wants to negotiate with Mid-Iowa. Agan will perform these negotiations. Mid-Iowa should be able to have office space in the former Department of Human Services building in Knoxville.
Another agreement the supervisors had on the agenda was a 28E with Warren County. When DHS reduced its presence in Marion County, several Marion County residents went to Warren for their DHS needs. Marion County offered to help offset these costs, but the agreement has expired, but not before Marion County became concerned about being overcharged.
"We're not paying them for the space right now," Bull said. He has been working with Warren County on a new agreement, and as of Tuesday morning, had not received a needed response from Warren County. He suggested that the supervisors do nothing with a new agreement until amends have been made for Marion County's overpayments.
Other supervisors' notes:
• Following public hearings, the supervisors granted zoning changes requested by Tom Adreon, Brad Cowden and Rod Beier for lots along Gear Street and Highway 5 near Pleasantville. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan was updated to reflect the zoning changes.
• Approved a Class "C" Beer Permit with Sunday sales for Pella Red Rock LLC.
• The next regular board of supervisors' meeting will be Tuesday, March 26, at 9 a.m.