Missouri Gasconade Commissioner Jerry Lairmore Slams County's Struggling Unemployed ?__________________________________________________________________________________
Gasconade County Commissioners' Report___________________________________________________________________________________
Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010
The Gasconade County Commission met with Presiding Commissioner Ron Jost, Northern District Commissioner Matthew Penning, Southern District Commissioner Jerry Lairmore present at Courthouse beginning with Pledge of Allegiance.
All Commissioners were present at the GCCS meeting Monday, December 27 at the Courthouse. All agree it was a good, positive meeting and was a major step forward as the neighboring properties will be deeded to Gasconade County.
Commissioner Jost also announced census numbers have been released and Gasconade County lost population since 2000, from 15,342 to 15,096.
Commission held its first budget hearing as required by law. Lietzow announced individual budgets were passed out Monday, along with everyone getting a copy of General Revenue. Those are due back to County Clerk's office Tuesday, January 4; also between that time, her office will work with Treasurer Joey Gross to close out books for 2010 and project revenue for 2011. All these numbers will be summarized on Wednesday and reported to Commission at the session Thursday in Owensville. Her hope is they will plan to meet in special session Monday, January 10, to work on it. Lietzow said it doesn't look like General Revenue will end up $100,000 ahead of the Jan. 1 balance. It looks closer to being $75,000.
All of the following county elected officials except, Paul Dopuch, Surveyer, appeared for budget discussion and for the Commission to hear from all about their questions and c o n c e r n s : P u b l i c Administrator Fay Owsley, Associate Circuit Judge John Berkemeyer, Coroner Ben Grosse, Prosecuting Attorney Ada Brehe-Krueger, Sheriff Randy Esphorst, Treasurer Joey Gross, Circuit Clerk and Recorder of Deeds Joyce Gabathuler, Assessor Joe Mundwiller and Collector Shawn Schlottach. The Commission asked Lietzow to repeat the information she had just given them, so she did. Judge Berkemeyer's first comment that possibly the group of elected officials, without the Commission, should meet before the Jan. 4 budget submission deadline, just to discuss each other's needs. It was later agreed to meet after this meeting ended, so everyone could check their calendars and schedule. Based on Lietzow's assessment of General Revenue, Berkemeyer said with the challenge of cutbacks, small counties such as Gasconade County struggle to make it and he fears county mergers as a future option, not necessarily anyones' choice.
Schlottach said her collections will be down nearly $9,000 for General Revenue due to the tax charge for personal property and real estate is less, along with Ameren's protested payment. As she has said before, buying two year tags for license, gives people chance to move around and find a way to not have to pay. Her expenses are significantly higher due to delinquent tax sale parcel notices are required to be mailed certified, which is over $5 instead of 44 cents. She also mentioned to all for information, she heard postage is likely to go up 2 cents in 2011.
She touched on a new law, SB711, that affects her office, Clerk Lietzow's and Assessor Mundwiller's as being just another unfunded mandate for General Revenue. Mundwiller's funding portion will be covered by extra withholding done by Collector Schlottach from collections; he added that state reimbursement for his office has already dropped from $6 per parcel to $4 and he is to expect that to be down to $3 in 2011 and he foresees the day General Revenue will have to supplement the Assessment fund. He has maintained a healthy balance to hold that off as long as possible.
Berkemeyer asked if he is seeing any new construction beginning yet and he said no, that he expects in this reassessment year of 2011 to lose value for the first time, including more losses in personal property.
Judge Berkemeyer said he sees virtually no change in his office budget, but that it only covers his expense reimbursement. His salary is paid by state and the remainder of his office expense is covered by Clerk Gabathuler's budget after their merger. Gabathuler said her salary, too, is paid by the state, as well as two of her employees and two of Judge Berkemeyer's, but if anyone would leave employment, the state has frozen hiring so no replacement could be hired. Both she and Berkemeyer each have one county paid employee. Regarding her budget for 2011, she said she would have to ask General Revenue for more money for her recorder's system lease fees because her discretionary funds will no longer cover it.
Lietzow said her elections budget will be reduced by $75,000 due to no elections in 2011, but she reminded the Commission she will owe almost $7,000 for voting equipment maintenance fees that she cut out of her 2010 budget. She will try to cover as much as she can from her discretionary Election Services fund. Penning asked if the Commission will get to see discretionary fund budgets and Lietzow said yes they would be submitted to the Commission along with all budgets. Lietzow also reminded the Commission of several items they mentioned over this year that would need to be considered at budget time such as, finish basement shelving, fill in outside steps, fix roof, boiler room door, personnel policy update.
Prosecutor Brehe-Krueger added that the salary contribution she makes to General Revenue from her discretionary funds will likely have to end soon, because her funds are not being replenished as before. She asked the Commission if they see the county gaining in any way. Lairmore said because of his involvement with IDA board and GVEZ board, he sees industry wanting to come into Gasconade County, if they are offered incentives, so he does see the economy starting to come back up. What he sees as a major problem is all those drawing unemployment because they do not want to work and they are not scrutinized enough by state or federal agencies to be validated.
Grosse said he will need to budget for more autopsies. The Commissioners said they know he will use his best judgement. Grosse said he tries to avoid that expense as much as possible, but unfortunately some cases he feels he has to have that and Judge Berkemyer agrees it's needed to prove a case. Berkemeyer also mentioned that he has learned the public defender system is on overload and he is afraid that the county will have to start paying bills for these attorneys and that could get very costly.
Gabathuler brought up a situation that the Commission needs to address that just happened this week in her office. They had a volatile, mentally unstable person in their office two times and they were afraid yesterday she would come back. In an effort to be prepared, they tried the panic buttons in their office and they did not work. Batteries were replaced and that did not fix the problem. It was later discovered that the main receiver box in the Sheriff's office was not working properly and was shut off, unplugged, more than once to reset, but it didn't help. EMD Dan Dyer was contacted and he agreed they had done everything they could and he would check to see the last test date and told Clerk Lietzow, the Commission would have to look at possibly replacing the system which was purchased in 2002. The Commissioners agreed with Dyer and they will discuss further with him while working on the budget.
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btccfan2002 February 19, 2010
An update on the bizarre story from Gasconade County where residents accused the county commissioners of "stealing" money from the its coffers. A few days earlier, a judge ruled the commissioners could keep their money because Missouri's statute of limitations on it (even if it was a criminal event) had run out..
http://HermannHearsay.blogspot.com/(Hermann Area News, Commentary & Discussion)