Jan. 13, 2021
Jan. 13, 2021
The Gasconade County Commission met at the Courthouse beginning with Pledge of Allegiance.
Commission met for the sole purpose of finalizing budget numbers today if possible; they started by meeting with Sheriff Scott Eiler. Clerk Lietzow wanted to talk about her discussions with Eiler and Chief Deputy Roger Armstrong about changing the method of deputies submitting timesheets based on the 171 hour in 28 day schedule and receiving a monthly paycheck with the two never coinciding. In an effort to make it simpler for everyone, but at the same time not doing anything to violate the Fair Labor Standards Act as it relates to law enforcement overtime, Armstrong sat down with Lietzow and her deputy and detailed how the new scheduling would work and the number of hours each deputy would be working each month. The end result is more beneficial to the employee as overtime would be paid as it is earned, not accumulated in a comp time reserve; Clerk’s office interest is only in complying with federal law and since this does even better, the only issue to be determined is how much would need to be added to the budget to pay this overtime each month. Armstrong estimated on the high side and said $15‑20,000; another part of this plan is that both Eiler and Armstrong and the two supervisors will make themselves available to fill in for that one eight-hour shift each month that creates the overtime, and send the deputy home, thus cutting back more on paying it out thus referring to flex scheduling. Regarding personnel, Eiler will have nine road deputies, plus one full‑time civil deputy paid from jail budget and one part‑time deputy also paid from jail budget; he will also have three or four other part‑time reserve officers working for pay at $17 per hour with no benefits. There was discussion about whether the School Resource Officer for R2G school should be left in the budget or removed; since the City of Owensville will no longer be providing that service for the school, the county was approached; Presiding Commissioner Miskel thinks that should be worked out between the school and the city government, not the county and Northern District Commissioner Holland agreed. Southern District Commissioner Jerry Lairmore would like to see the SRO provided, but agrees, it should be by the city. The final issue of number of vehicles to be purchased to replace older, high mileage vehicles was agreed to be only two new ones, not four as originally requested.
Assessor Paul Schulte came in at commission request to discuss his budget; Miskel considered the bottom line requested to be significantly higher than last three years actual expenses and wanted justification or explanation for such. The new expense for appraiser services was to include legal services if necessary and was recommended by State Tax Commission; there was a mistake in calculations made by clerk’s office regarding the new hire budgeted for, in that it was added in twice. While Schulte could see moving some of the money around between line items, commission asked him to see if he could bring the requested down to around $300,000 so he went back to his office and later when he returned said a representative from State Tax Commission will be in his office tomorrow and they will look at his budget then to determine where cuts could be made and commission agreed.
Coroner Jeff Arnold also came in with a revised budget request as suggested by Miskel; he detailed line by line, explaining the reasoning behind the request for dispatch fees, uniform charges, software and deputy coroner. Regarding deputy coroner, while statutorily the sheriff serves in the absence of coroner, Eiler does not want, nor need, the responsibility of performing the duties of coroner on scene. If someone else is appointed to the deputy position, they have to be trained same as coroner; while commission wants Arnold to realize that his elected position needs to take priority over any other position he holds. While he agrees that is true, there will be times when he cannot answer the call, thus requiring someone to be deputized to do so. There is still a discrepancy in the amount to be set aside for that position, tentatively agreed upon now at $6,000. The dispatch fees are for nonemergency calls which based on past years, is approximately 170 calls of 220 total deaths. His request for uniforms is very basic and only an attempt to look professional as he has in any position he has held. The software he is purchasing and maintaining is new because former Coroner Ben Grosse wrote his own program. After Arnold left, commission decision was made to change the deputy coroner position to maximum of $3,000 and there will be a detailed timesheet submitted for pay.
Moving onto other budgets, Miskel said he had no need to talk to any other elected officials because in his opinion, the last several years they were asked to squeeze more out of their reduced budgets than should have been asked of them and they did it and deserve a break.
Lietzow then started with her questions generally across all budgets, starting with road and bridge; the cuts commission and road department made last Thursday were not quite enough, so her office contacted road department and they made additional cuts, and she detailed them for commission. She also ask for details on projects planned as that always is part of her budget message. Commission mentioned that they know they will be faced with retirements of long‑serving employees starting later this year and into next year to be prepared for.
She said she had talked with EMD Dan Dyer about their suggestion of adding in $2,000 for contracted services into his budget and he agreed. She went over the numbers in their own commission budget, county expense budget, the two grants still available for general revenue for DSSSF and her elections. She contacted the remonumentation division of MoDNR and the new round of programs will start July 1, she pointed out the $20,000 in election cost in case they want to run a use‑tax question on the ballot in August or November this year. In the buildings and grounds budget, she had penciled in for possible new air conditioning unit in Associate Court division office and courtroom, parking lot improvements, and drainage improvements at Swiss building. She mentioned that the Courthouse Restoration fund has accumulated approx. $10,000 and she asked if they had any intent on using for a special project in 2021 and since they did not, she suggested a new security camera system for inside and outside the courthouse which they agreed was a good idea.
Last issue to be discussed as always is raises; all budgets have a three-percent raise for employees plus a nickel an hour for another year of service to the county. Commission agreed to stick with that across the board all departments. She still has to add in the elected officials increase voted at the November 2019 salary commission meeting and the assessed value threshold crossing.
Lairmore made a motion to adjourn commission until Jan. 14, 2021. Holland seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned.