Start the bulldozers — county supervisors approve three road projects
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Plans for three county road construction projects have been approved by the Henry County Board of Supervisors and soon will be put out to bid.
The plans approved by the supervisors on Tuesday morning were for the resurfacing of 235th Street (Business 34) west of Mt. Pleasant, 260th Street (Business 34) west of New London and Iowa Avenue north of Mt. Pleasant.
County Engineer Bill Belzer explained that plans are to grind up the top three to four inches of asphalt, rejuvenate it and put it back down before adding four more inches of asphalt on top.
There will also be more rock added to the shoulders, Belzer noted.
The projects are estimated to cost $906,460 for 235th Street, $433,000 for 260th Street and $721,872 for Iowa Avenue.
The cost for Iowa Avenue is divided between two different entities: Henry County for $660,600 and the City of Mt. Pleasant for $61,272. The city’s portion covers the road from the overpass to Winfield Avenue.
Bids on the project are expected to be awarded in May.
The supervisors also heard three different fiscal year 2013-2014 budget presentations on Tuesday from the treasurer, conservation and sheriff’s departments.
Although the three department heads were able to give the supervisors an idea on the general expenses of their office for the upcoming fiscal year, County Auditor Shelly Barber explained that it is difficult to determine what the budget will actually be until the wage increase is determined.
The compensation board has recommended a four-percent wage increase across the board to the county’s elected officials, and most other county employees’ wages are based on a percentage of their department head’s salary.
Therefore, until the supervisors make a decision on raises for the upcoming fiscal year, that section of the budget cannot be determined.
Under the general operating expenses for the sheriff’s department, Sheriff Rich McNamee is budgeting an extra $50,000 for the housing of prisoners in fiscal year 2013-2014, raising the amount to $170,000.
The department had budgeted $120,000 for fiscal year 2012-2013, and the county has already spent $100,000, with over 5 months to go in the fiscal year.
Part of the expense, explained Barber, is that there are many prisoners and some have to be shipped out to other counties depending on the circumstances. Therefore, Henry County has to pay other counties to house its prisoners.
County Treasurer Ana Lair said that her basic operating costs stayed the same, but she was looking to raise her employees a step on the pay scale.
“I did ask for some bump ups for my staff, intending to get them in line with other offices,” said Lair, noting that in the past she had not raised their salaries when she could have.
Other added expenses are for new equipment and the addition of a laptop to be used for online training.
Conservation Director John Pullis noted that his fiscal year 2014 budget increased by 3.3 percent.
Pullis noted that in the upcoming fiscal year he is looking to replace the siding on the offices.
The board also discussed the assignment of three tax sale certificates for property near Salem.
The tax certificates in question had been part of a tax sale in the past but never sold. Now Dan Jacobs has expressed interest in purchasing the tax certificates for the property.
“All we’re doing is assigning them the certificate,” said County Auditor Shelly Barber, who explained that Jacobs would then be responsible for going through the process of paying off the taxes and possibly obtaining the deed for the property in the future.
“I see no reason not to do it,” said County Attorney Darin Stater, noting that the county will get the money it is due in back taxes.
By buying the tax certificates, Jacobs would be paying the past taxes that have not been paid on the property. He would then receive the money, including interest, when the landowner pays the taxes.
The resolution to assign the tax sale certificates to Jacobs will be on the agenda for Thursday, Jan. 17 meeting.