QC Approves Budget, Pay Raises at Meeting

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Clay County employees have a little extra something to be thankful for this holiday season, as the quorum court approved a 50-cent per hour across the board raise as part of the 2018 budget. Employees will also receive a one-time incentive pay this week. Both were approved at Monday night's regular meeting, held at the courthouse in Piggott. Ordinances were also approved to create the official position of county medical official and to amend the current budget.

With Justice Mike Hill absent, the meeting was called to order by Judge Mike Patterson. After dispensing with the consent agenda items the justices turned their attention to Ordinance 2017-16, which sets the Ad Valorem Tax for the fiscal year 2017, collectible in 2018.

Waiving the stipulation it be read on three separate occasions, the justices voted 8-0 to approve the measure and the accompanying emergency clause. The ordinance is required by law, and is passed each year in order to allow the collection of personal and real estate taxes from within the county and its towns and cities. Since no millage increases were approved in the past year, the amounts remained the same.

The court then turned its attention to Ordinance 2017-17, which adjusts the current budget. The measure serves to appropriate $11,643.48 in federal disaster funds; $500 in donation funds for the Emergency Task Force; and $157.20 from the sale of recyclables to WW Recycling. It also appropriated a total of $28,401 to County General due to excess land fees from the state land commissioner's department.

Waiving the stipulation it be read on three separate occasions, the justices approved the ordinance on a voice vote of 8-0. The accompanying emergency clause was also approved without dissent.

The JPs then considered Ordinance 2017-18, which creates the official position of county jail doctor. The legislation serves to allow the county sheriff to hire a doctor for the jail, who will be covered by the laws pertaining to liability. While the measure covers the doctor for liabilities under the state's guidelines, it does not protect them from liabilities due to malpractice, and the proper insurance is still required.

Again waiving the stipulation it be read on three separate occasions, the ordinance and its emergency clause was approved 8-0.

Two resolutions were also approved by the court, including one which will allow the county to purchase land adjacent to the Western District county shop building at Corning. Judge Patterson indicated the owner, Louise Coleman, had offered to sell the parcel for $16,800, which he deemed “a bargain.”

In response, the justices approved the resolution allowing him to enter into an agreement to make the purchase. The land in question is adjacent to the shop building used by the county road department, located on North Missouri/Hwy 67 North in Corning.

The finance committee also presented the budget for 2018, noting the process had been difficult.

“We got a lot done, I don't think people realize how much work it is,” committee member Jody Henderson offered. “We were a bit handicapped going in, and came up short the first time. But, thanks to some concessions by Sheriff (Terry) Miller with his budget, we were able to finally get it worked out.”

Henderson, and fellow committee member David Cagle, reported it took three drafts to get to a final budget, which was approved on a vote of 8-0.

The budget includes a 50-cent per hour raise for all employees, although the JPs had hoped to increase pay by more. “We had hoped to be able to give a dollar raise, but we just couldn't do it,” Cagle offered. “The raise we did propose will run us about $143,000.”

During the discussion it was noted health care costs should remain steady, with only a slight increase in costs. In response, Patterson indicated the county was looking at different programs, and would be seeking bids. “We should be able to get it somewhat cheaper,” he offered.

According to the justices, the carryover will be around $539,000, although the bulk of those monies will be used in January and February.

The JPs also approved a one-time incentive pay for county employees, which amounts to about 15-cents per hour. The incentive pay checks were scheduled to be distributed today, Wednesday, Nov. 22, just in time for holiday shopping. Each employee was slated to receive around $420.

These funds were from the excess land fees from the state land commissioner's office, which had been collected in 2013.

During his update to the court, Patterson reported on a meeting with state officials on several local road projects. He indicated they visited Peco Road, near Hwy. 67, which has deteriorated rapidly in the short time since it was paved.

“They said the paving job was for residential, and they want us to come back and overlay it with an inch and one-half of pavement, then another two inches,” he explained. “It's falling apart and we're going to have to do something about it or those trucks are just gonna' tear it up.”

He indicated the project would be earmarked for 2018, and noted he hoped to get some assistance from Peco Foods.

Patterson also asked permission from the court to transfer the CR 450, or Crockett Road, project from state to federal funding. He indicated the requirements would be greater, and it will take more time, but noted there were a number of advantages.

“We'll be able to save money to be used on other projects if we can get it funded,” he added. “But, it could take up to two years.” He also noted the new bridge near Roger's Chapel was built to federal specifications, as was the approach, which will save time and money on the project.

In other business the court--

--Approved two new members to the Clay County Library Board, including Shawn Parker and Christina Conway. Parker replaces Ellen Meadows while Conway replaces Janet Luter, as their terms expire.

--Gave the okay for circuit clerk Janet Kilbreath to establish six petty cash boxes for her employees, stipulating each have a starting balance of $100.

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