Supervisors finalize FY24 budget

The Marshall County Board of Supervisors moved briskly through a flurry of public hearings and officially finalized several formalities for the upcoming and current fiscal years, including the certified budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which begins on July 1.

There were no oral or written comments regarding the budget during the public hearing before Board Chairman Jarret Heil offered his thoughts. Both Heil and Carol Hibbs are new to the board, and he noted that they came on in the middle of the process.

“I thought our meetings with our department heads went very well, and looking at the challenges we had ahead of us this year, it’s good to have them (sharing) what their priorities are for the department over us prioritizing what that is,” Heil said. “It’s good to have that good guidance and that good dialog together that we definitely saw.”

Another challenge was the passage of Senate File 181, which corrected a previous error in the calculation of property taxes and forced local governments to adjust their budgets with lower revenue projections than they had previously estimated. Heil described challenges in crafting the budget, citing increases in spending in each of the last three fiscal years and underfunding of the county’s health fund, which covers insurance and other health related benefits for employees.

The general basic fund, which Heil called the true operational dollars for the county, is flatlined, and he said about 75 percent of the spending increases are going into the general supplemental fund to add to the health fund. According to the final figures presented Tuesday, the maximum general services tax dollars requested for FY24 are $12,775,917, a 6.7 percent increase from last year’s total of $11,974,241, while the rural services amount will remain the same at $3,015,200.

For individual residential and commercial property owners, it means an increase from a previous levy rate of $9.43329 per $1,000 of valuation to $9.66124 per $1,000. Heil said, however, that the effective change would be closer to 4.2 percent.

In addition to beefing up the health fund, Heil said another major goal was to focus on staff pay and find ways to cut or maintain operational costs so that raises could be awarded.

“The budget we have today is, we have seven, eight, nine percent increases… Obviously, we have unions, non-unions and all that, but you have those kind of increases that we’re seeing for our departments, which I think demonstrates that our people are great people that we have working for the county,” he said. “We want to keep our great people. We want to continue to recruit and have great people working for the great county of Marshall County.”

Despite his optimism about the budget, Heil warned there was “more work to come” — especially with property valuations set to increase — and said the supervisors would need to keep an eye on what constitutes new growth against what’s simply an increase on existing properties.

Steve Salasek, the only supervisor with previous county budget experience as an incumbent, praised Heil and Hibbs for their hard work during a “trial by fire” and joked that with about 90 percent of the board’s work done for the year, it might be time to take a sabbatical. Hibbs thanked Salasek for his expertise and echoed the compliments for the department heads.

“This was not an easy process, and they were not easy conversations to have all the time. So I think we got to where we needed to be,” she said.

County Auditor/Recorder Nan Benson added that other than the health fund, spending only increased about $200,000 across the board, and she believed that everyone involved did a great job. She singled out one of her staffers, Maria Vargas-Gonzalez, praising her for handling “all of the curveballs” thrown her way.

The total budget for FY2024, according to the document provided during the meeting, is $15,307,859, and a motion to approve it carried unanimously. As previously mentioned, the board also moved through several other routine public hearings for a 2022-2023 budget amendment, a 2022-2023 decrease in appropriation and a 2022-2023 reappropriation of funds.

Some of the highlights of the reappropriation included an increase of about $1 million for the county engineer’s budget from $9,173,400 to $10,087,925, the county capital building fund increasing from $4,827,561 to $11,368,483, the E911 towers fund doubling from $677,500 to $1,383,918 and the non-departmental fund falling from $6,992,216 to $3,796,345. Overall, appropriations increased from $39,458,909 to $44,369,776.

County Buildings and Ground Director Lucas Baedke brought four change orders before the board for approval totaling $36,011.58 — rotunda plaster repair with the county responsible $3,990 and EMC Insurance responsible for $7,410, VAV box repipe with the county responsible for $964.28, soundproofing the second and third floor windows with the county responsible for $19,597.04 and a generator charger with the insurer responsible for $4,050.26. Baedke called the changes “cleanup items” — including some work that predated the tornado and needed to be corrected — and said they were all in the budget. The board approved the changes unanimously.

In other business, the board:

• Approved several personnel changes in the county attorney’s office, including the promotion of Kiyoko Kieffer to First Assistant County Attorney with a salary increase from $81,478.88 to $100,917.84 plus a $675 bonus; a salary increase for Travis Conder from $68,456.40 to $71,456.40; a salary increase for Breanna Nelson from $70,383.36 to $73,383.36 and a salary increase for James Scheetz from $91,778.40 to $94,778.40 effective April 1. Jake Dorman was also approved as a new hire to serve as an assistant county attorney at a salary of $67,500 effective April 3. These changes follow the departures of former First Assistant County Attorney Sarah Tupper and former Assistant County Attorney Kathryn Austin.

• Approved a 28E agreement for the sharing of mental health advocate costs with Franklin, Hamilton, Hardin and Story counties.

• Approved a contract for right of way easement with Carolyn R. Maschman on Sanford Avenue east of Highway 14.

• Approved the purchase of a used 2016 Volvo VNL64T300 day cab truck from the Central Iowa Farm Store in Marshalltown.

• Approved a liquor license renewal for Prime Stop Inc. effective May 18.

• Approved proclamations recognizing as April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and April 9-15 as National Telecommunicator’s Week and observed a moment of silence for those impacted by sexual assault.

• Approved the consent agenda as listed.


Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or rmaharry@timesrepublican.com.


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