EMA board meets with supervisors on 2022 budget
By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – The closing of the Duane Arnold Energy Center (DAEC) will have an impact on the Benton County Emergency Services, the Benton County Board of Supervisors learned at their Sept. 29 meeting in Vinton.
Scott Hansen, Benton County Emergency Management Agency Director, met with the board regarding the agency’s budget for 2021-22. Steve Meyer, chairman of the emergency management board, pointed out that in the future, the agency can no longer count on part of its budget coming from the DAEC. The nuclear power plant has shut down. He wanted to make the supervisors aware of this.
Meyer and the commission would like to see everything continue as it is, realizing this puts more of a burden on the county. Hansen presented the budget outlook for next fiscal year. The increase in local share is expected to be about $74,000. He wanted to make the supervisors aware of this.
Meyer stressed that everything in the budget is things that need to be done, whether they are dealing with DAEC or not. He wants to see the program as it is. Supervisor chairman Richard Primmer said the county will hopefully have places to pull dollars from, other than from the taxpayers’ pockets.
Supervisor Gary Bierschenk warned of a lot of property loss and tax loss impacting the county’s budget.
Part of working with DAEC has been having a siren system. The system might be turned over to the county. There are 35 sirens throughout the county.
Meyer also gave an update on the county’s hazard mitigation plan. The deadline is Feb. 16. Work has stalled since the derecho in August, as Meyer awaits information from area cities. Meyer is concerned that not having a plan could prevent the county and communities to get hazard mitigation grants. Hansen is hoping for an extension of one year. Otherwise they will submit it with the information on hand regarding the census and property values.
The board approved the Cedar Valley Ranch equity transfer.
The board approved the transition of Lydia Close to part-time communication specialist. They also approved the resignation of Ross Hanson in Benton County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch. Close will continue to work in the kitchen. She will be trained as dispatcher by Hanson. Sheriff Ron Tippett also updated the board on replacing a vehicle that had a grain bin roll over it during the August windstorm.
Mike Day of RC Tech met with the board regarding a quote on audio in the courthouse. The board asked about other offices in the courthouse being able to pick up the signal. It was pointed out that most proceedings in the courtroom are public record. After touring the courtroom, Day came up with an estimate of $91,000 to $93,000 for four microphones. The board wanted to look at what it would cost to have a system with rechargeable batteries, plus auxiliary inputs.
Kae Hingtgen, CEO for the MH/DS of East Central Region gave an update and reviewed the strategic plan and fund balance. They are working on branding and a new logo. She handed out the regional plan, including mission, vision and values. They looked at access issues, crisis delivery, array of services, partnerships, fiscal responsibility, and being a cohesive region.