Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1116522

Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 19, 2014

Board deciding how to spend tax dollars

Supervisors hold over 21 budget work sessions
By Linda Wenger | Feb 17, 2014

From a generator to provide emergency power to county buildings to a new line item for the Conservation Education Center, the Washington County Board of Supervisors are figuring out what will be in the fiscal year budget for 2014-15.
The supervisors held 21 work sessions to discuss the budgets for each county department and they are not done yet. The sessions began Jan. 21 and more are scheduled this week. The budget needs to be done by March 11, when the board will hold a public hearing on how county funds will be spent.
One of the special projects the supervisors intend to fund is a generator that would supply emergency power to the Communications Center, the courthouse and the McCreedy building, all county facilities.
Auditor Dan Widmer is in charge of buildings and grounds, and the generator is part of some planning for emergencies he has been considering. A generator is in place for the Communications Center right now, but it is not big enough to supply the three county buildings.
“We’re going to take the heat for this,” Supervisor Stan Stoops said. “It needs to be on the front burner. We’re going to look silly if we’re not prepared.”
Widmer said that an engineer’s proposal to bring in a generator is estimated to cost $7,000.
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said the engineer’s study should be done in the current fiscal year. He suggested the board budget $75,000 for the new fiscal year.
Also needed is more lighting for the Orchard Hill complex, Widmer said. He said there are safety concerns because of the overhanging soffits around the buildings.
Supervisor Steve Davis suggested setting aside $47,000 for that project.
Another project discussed was tuck-pointing the courthouse. Widmer passed around some small chunks of brick that have fallen off the courthouse. This project may cost $56,000.
Conservation Board President Craig Capps and executive director Steve Anderson appeared before the board. Anderson said that the Conservation Education Center is nearly 10 years old and asked that a new line item be added to the conservation budget for maintaining the building. The amount suggested was $30,000.
Anderson said that not long after the center was finished a storm damaged the center’s roof, shortening the life of the roof. He said that the board may have to save the $30,000 for two or three years to pay for a new roof.
Information technology director Cyndie Sinn wants to budget $6,000 toward redoing the county’s Web site. She also said the county may want to contract that job to an outside Web service. She said it might be 18 months before the process can begin, and more time to get it up and running.
Stoops said the board has had several requests to have the board’s minutes put up on the Web site. Sinn said that isn’t possible on the current Web site.
The supervisors have made no formal decisions on the budget yet. That won’t come until after the public hearing.
The board next meets at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the courthouse.

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