Davison County covers overrun in highway budgetDavison County overspent its 2011 highway budget by $130,000, largely because of flood-related road projects, according to the Highway Department superintendent.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Davison County overspent its 2011 highway budget by $130,000, largely because of flood-related road projects, according to the Highway Department superintendent.
The county commissioners dealt with the overrun Tuesday by adopting a $60,000 contingency transfer and $70,000 supplement to the Highway Department budget line. The supplement, from general fund cash, was necessary because there wasn’t enough to cover the entire amount from the contingency budget.
Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg was not at Tuesday’s weekly commission meeting at the courthouse but spoke with The Daily Republic later by phone. He said unexpected repair bills for vehicles contributed to the overspending, too.
“There was also inflation and the price of fuel was up,” he said.
Commissioner David Weitala said department heads must do what they can to keep an eye on the bottom line.
“If your department is going over on one budget line and you still have money in another budget line, then try not to spend the budget line that has money,” he said
The goal should be to manage expenditures and to stay within the overall budget, Weitala said.
The commissioners also discussed the possibility of instituting regular budget meetings with department heads. Such meetings would head off any year-end budget surprises, Weitala said.
Commission Chairman John Claggett said the commissioners should make better use of technology to stay abreast of county finances.
In other budget matters, the commissioners unanimously approved $89,771 in contingency transfers, including the $60,000 for the Highway Department and the following unanticipated expenses: legal defense for abused and neglected children, $800; coroner, $3,260; emergency management, $1,700; mentally handicapped, $1,903; Mental Illness Board hearings, $2,108; and payroll items for the Department of Equalization, $6,500, Sheriff’s Office, $8,500, and jail, $5,000.
The above numbers are approximate, according to Auditor Susan Kiepke. Exact figures could not be supplied, she said, because her office was closed on Monday for the Christmas holiday and because payroll and other items are still filtering in. The numbers will be corrected in the final published minutes, she told the commissioners.
The items depleted the county’s $300,000 contingency budget for the year, Kiepke said.
Elected officials pay set
The commissioners set the pay of elected county officials and gave each official a 1 percent plus 25 cents-per-hour raise, a rate commensurate with raises given to all county employees.
The increase will raise the yearly pay of the county auditor, register of deeds and treasurer from $44,646 to $45,612; the state’s attorney from $75,315 to $76,386; and the sheriff from $53,627 to $54,683.
The commissioners will set their own pay in January.
Nuisance ordinance discussed
Commissioner Denny Kiner presented a draft ordinance that would deal with unsightly and unhealthy conditions in rural, residential areas of the county as well as extraterritorial areas outside municipalities. The ordinance would not affect the municipalities of Mitchell, Ethan or Mount Vernon.
The goal is “to ensure that the citizens of Davison County have a clean, healthy environment to live in,” Kiner said, but the other commissioners want to move carefully before adopting such an ordinance.
“But it’s my opinion that we really need to clean up areas that are really negligent,” Kiner said.
A previous effort to create such an ordinance drew fire from agricultural sectors in the county. “They felt (county oversight) was too much Big Brother,” Commissioner Jerry Fischer said.
The new ordinance would not apply to agricultural operations, Kiner said.
“We have some areas out there that are fairly cluttered and need cleaning up,” he said. “We want to make sure it doesn’t become a huge administrative nightmare. Any ordinance must be simple and straight to the point.”
It could be a month or two before the ordinance goes to a public hearing, he said.
The ordinance does not target agricultural areas or zoned commercial areas already licensed by the state or federal government.
“We’re basically concerned about residential areas where a number of citizens are affected by one individual citizen who is violating their rights,” Kiner said.
Weitala said such an ordinance could reduce friction between neighbors and address matters “before things get out of hand.”