Audit: county is fiscally sound - Republic-Times | News

Audit: county is fiscally sound

By on April 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm

Monroe County is being well-managed fiscally and was found to have no material fiscal problems for 2017, per an annual audit report discussed during Monday’s county board meeting.

Sean Williamson and Keith Slusser from Fick, Eggemeyer and Williamson of Columbia presented audit results to the county commissioners.

The county finished the last year with assets valued at $51.6 million against $13 million in liabilities. Among that latter number was $5.6 million remaining in bonds for the Oak Hill senior care facility. 

Overall, the county’s net worth increased by $600,000 in fiscal year 2017.

One positive note in the 50-plus page document was the fact that Monroe County collected 99.84 percent of all property taxes due in the past year.  Whereas some counties have thousands of properties bearing unpaid taxes because they are worth less than the accumulated tax bills, Monroe County has virtually 100 percent high value property.

In other news from the meeting, a compromise was struck between the county and Holland Construction Services of Swansea. The resolution came in an executive session involving the final payment for the recently completed Evergreen Pointe rehabilitation facility at Oak Hill.

The issue was applying contingency funds against various unplanned expenses for the facility. Holland said they felt they could claim some $184,998.12, but did claim $77,902.49 for work mostly focused on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the facility.

A compromise agreement was reached at $70,000 in the hour-long session, the Republic-Times learned following the closed session. This completes all obligations in connection with the new 13-bed facility that went into operation in December.

Monroe County Ambulance Director Carla Heise was authorized to enter into an agreement with AT&T for its First Net communication service. This service gives priority to first responders and prevents network congestion issues during emergencies.

The cost to the county for this service is being reduced by more the half from previous costs to $888 per month. The service also has provisions for more frequent updates of phone equipment.

The Bison Committee came to tell commissioners that they are moving ahead this month to beautify the area surrounding the bison statue on the northeast corner of the courthouse grounds. Soon, an iron fence will encircle the statue with historically accurate plantings to include prairie grass and flowers.

Committee chairman Jim Hill said the entire effort is being paid for by volunteer contributions, which totaled some $6,200. Work has already commenced, and weather permitting, will be finished by the end of April. A dedication ceremony will be announced for sometime in May.

Oak Hill Director Kim Keckritz reported that the first four months of the fiscal year have delivered very good measures of occupancy and financial returns. She did note, though, the first employee injury in a very long time with a fall resulting in a broken arm. She also accepted a certificate of appreciation from the commissioners for Diana Karsten, who recently retired after 36 years of employment at the nursing home as an administrative assistant.

An intergovernmental agreement was entered into between Monroe County and Waterloo, formalizing enforcement of the county’s ordinances against possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia within Waterloo city limits. The agreement is the same as those previously executed between the county and both Columbia and Valmeyer.

Finally, the commissioners voted on and approved compensation for elected officials. Salaries are agreed on for the terms of the elected positions.

The assessor, county clerk and treasurer will receive 2 percent raises in each of the next four years. County commissioners will get a 1 percent raise in the coming fiscal year, followed by a half percent raise in 2019 and 1 percent hikes the following four years.

The sheriff, whose pay was found in a recent survey to be trailing that of similar sheriffs, will see a 5.75 percent raise in fiscal year 2019, followed by 2 percent raises in each of the next three years of his term.

The county board will meet next in regular session on Monday, May 7.

Alan Dooley

Alan is a photojournalist -- he both shoots pictures and writes for the R-T. A 31-year Navy vet, he has lived worldwide, but with his wife Sherry, calls a rambling house south of Waterloo home. Alan counts astronomy as a hobby and is fascinated by just about everything scientific.