By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – Budget work for the 2022-23 fiscal year continued with the Benton County Board of Supervisors, as they heard information from the sheriff’s union and secondary roads union. The conservation director also gave a budget update. The meeting was Feb. 15 at the service center in Vinton.
Shelby Williams of the conservation department presented the conservation update, focusing on salaries and insurance. The board accepted the commission’s recommendation on the budget. Williams also gave an update on a ranger at Hannen Park. The new ranger hopes to be onsite by the end of March, after training.
Richard Hoffman presented a memorandum of understanding for the sheriff’s office union. He is working on 30 law enforcement contracts. Ten are for sheriff’s offices, and the rest are for police departments and dispatchers. He explained how he reached the proposed pay scale for the sheriff’s office. He said the intent is to make Benton County competitive and to keep it competitive. Benton County is now behind the counties surrounding it in terms of hourly wages for deputies, Hoffman explained. The proposed pay scale puts Benton County 37 cents per hour ahead of the average for deputies. His worry is that Benton County will fall behind again, even if this was approved.
The sheriff’s office employees have approved the memorandum.
Benton County Attorney David Thompson advised the supervisors to talk to their human resources director, labor attorney and sheriff and decide what they want to do. He also suggested reopening this to deal with the wellness incentive for insurance. Thompson also suggested a supervisor help with this.
Robert Gilmore, union steward with PPME Local 2003, gave an update on secondary roads negotiations. He said keeping employees is a challenge at this time. Gilmore would like a letter of understanding on July 1, 2022, which would be the same as for other employees, which is 10 percent. They are in the third year of a three-year agreement with the county. They will re-certify this fall. Participation in the wellness program was also emphasized by Thompson and how it can save money on insurance. Kirsten Nelson, human resources, said Wellness will be simplified.
A land use hearing was set for Tuesday, March 15, 9:15 a.m., for Jill and Brian Kuhn, for land in Section 12, Canton Township.
A Norway official met with the board with concerns about side by side off-road vehicles driving in Norway and enforcement of an ordinance that deals with this. The county provided the official a copy of the county’s ordinance.
The board approved a bond purchase agreement for the sale of general obligation emergency communications bonds, Series 2022. The interest is 1.92 percent. Impact on property taxes was also explained for city, commercial and ag land. On a home with $100,000 valuation, the increase is $23. The bonds were marketed this week. This is for the Racom emergency services communication system. This timeframe is seven years.