Sheriff’s office to meet with mayors about possible increases for patrol and dispatches
By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – Budget work continued for the Benton County Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Jan. 18, 2022, at the Benton County Service Center, Vinton. The board met with the sanitarian and land use office, Kirkwood Work Place, Watershed Management Authority (WMA), relief, supervisors, sheriff, auditor and elections, plus the Benton County Engineer.
Sheriff Ron Tippett and Deputy John Lindaman explained the sheriff’s budget. This led to talk on what the sheriff’s office charges for dispatch and law enforcement contracts with communities.
Lindaman said expenses are going through the roof, while some of the rates charged for municipal law enforcement services have not changed since 1991. He went over the contract law enforcement rates and contract dispatching rates.
Benton County charges Vinton $26,500 a year for dispatch and Belle Plaine $18,000. These rates have not changed since 1991. They’d like to adjust the rates at least to cover the cost of a full-time employee. Lindaman said he’d like to have the cities of Vinton, Belle Plaine and Urbana pay for $100,000 of the dispatching costs. The communities have their own police departments.
Tippett explained that Emergency Medical Services and fire dispatches are covered under 9-1-1.
As for law enforcement contracts, there would have to be a raise of 275 percent in order to cover expenses, Lindaman said. He suggested charging different hourly rates according to population.
Tippett said they should work something out over a period of years to get this more feasible and meet with area mayors to work on this. No action was taken. They will plan a special meeting.
As for the budget, Tippett broke it down into communications, patrol, jail, investigations, administration and courthouse security. They want to purchase four new vehicles. They are looking at 3-percent increases for wages for most employees. There is a big increase in administration.
Other budget work
Marc Greenlee and Barb Greenlee explained the board of health budget, sanitarian and land use. They budgeted a 5-percent increase for salaries. A lot of what they do is based on the economy, Marc Greenlee explained, in terms of permits and land use changes. He said the budget is basically the same.
Auditor Hayley Rippel explained the budget for the supervisors, looking at insurance and other items. Most of their budget is managed through the auditor’s office. She also explained election expenses.
Kristine Bullock met with the board regarding the workplace center budget request. This covers career exploration and workplace experience for students through Kirkwood, the local community college. They start with sixth graders listening to speakers. The county contributes 10 cents per capita. The request is for $2,566 and is based on the 2020 census. They also looked at participation levels compared to other counties in the Kirkwood area.
Jennifer Fencl of the East Central Iowa Council of Governments went over the Middle Cedar WMA budget. She explained the Iowa Flood Center. Benton County is the fiscal agent for the multi-county region. She is working to get participation from city and county governments in the region. No action was taken on participation.
Sarah Wagner explained the relief budget. The only increase is in transportation.
Benton County Engineer Myron Parizek presented his budget.
Before that, the board approved an agreement on county bridge work on 75th Street, Florence Township. This is on the Department of Transportation’s April letting.
The board approved Benton County Priorities Region 10 (ECICOG) RPA Applications for FY 2023-2026.
The board approved an application for Regional Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) SWAP Funds.
As for the budget, Parizek explained capital projects, salaries, administrative costs, engineering, roads, bridges, culverts, rock hauling, farm-to-market maintenance, equipment, sanitation disposal services, tools, materials, supplies, the impact of new schooling requirements to get a CDL (commercial driver’s license),
He pointed out that material costs keep increasing.
The board discussed rental rates for the Abbe Center. This was tabled for a week. They have an office in the service center.
Ben Turnis of Information Technology explained a new contract for printers. It is a five-year contract that will save money, according to Turnis. The county has 38 printers. They will run the contract by the county attorney.
The board approved moving Brandi Tickle from part-time to full-time in the sheriff’s office. Garrison Reekers was moved from full-time to part-time.
Sheriff Tippett introduced Brandi Lewin, Sexual Assault Response Team coordinator. She presented the team’s budget request for next fiscal year. Benton County’s contribution is $6,500.
Relief cremation rates were approved.