Commissioners Charlie Sanow and Steve Ritter.

Commissioners increase their own salaries to come in line with others

The Lyon County Board Tuesday discussed their own salaries and decided to give themselves a healthy raise. The commissioners have currently made $18,150 per year with an additional $250 per month for the board chairman.

County Administrator Loren Stomberg said he’s surveyed other counties and, “Didn’t find a pattern,” on commissioners’ salaries. Commissioner Charlie Sanow made a motion to move the commissioners’ salaries up to $20,200 per year. “That is an average salary of what the nine counties around us pay,” he said.

“I think we should be paid what we deserve, instead of $2,000 less,” said Sanow.

“We pay a two or three percent increase every year. If we did that for commissioners, we wouldn’t have to have this discussion every year,” said Commissioner Gary Crowley.

“I’m not going to support this, which is nearly 10 percent. I came to this meeting thinking three or four percent,” said Commissioner Ritter. “I know this is a 10 percent increase, but we’ve been working at $2,000 less than the average for 10 years,” Sanow said.

Ritter had the only dissenting vote on the board. The chairman will continue to receive the commission chairman’s additional pay at the same $250 per month. No changes were made to the per diems paid to the commissioners.

After the closed meeting the board found the performance acceptable and set the 2019 salaries at: During a closed session, the board set County Attorney Rick Maes salary at $131,834 (2018 salary $126,764) and new Sheriff Eric Wallen’s salary at $99,100.

Give abatements to property owners after county fires “We’ve had three fires in Lyon County and all three owners have requested disaster abatements and credits,” said Sherri Kitchenmaster, County Assessor.

The county decided to return taxes to all three for the time the buildings are no longer usable. One fire reported was a house fire by Patrick Buysse. The house was destroyed. “We are recommending an abatement and one for next year,” she said.

Apparently, Buysse is not intending to rebuild on the property. He will get a check back for taxes this year and a credit for 2019. The second was a tax abatement from Dan Vogt for property on Main Street in Marshall. He said over $400,000 in damage was caused by the fire and smoke. The fire was on Oct. 15, 2018. The abatement would be $616 dollars for this year and credit for the same next year. The third fire was at Southwest Tour and Travel in Marshall.

The bus garage building was destroyed. The amount to be paid back was $1,124. The application was made by Thomas and Jeff Hey on behalf of Pantera LLP, official owners of the property. “The abatements are on the buildings that are no longer there. They still pay taxes on the property,” said Kitchenmaster.

IN OTHER action the board: •Approved a three-year extension of a contract with the Village of Lynd for police coverage. The cost will be $45,859.20 for the year or $3,821.60 per month.

•Approved a request by Roger Schroeder, Landfill Director, to allow the Environmental Department to seek quotes for landfill construction. Half of a new “cell” for the landfill was done last year. This project is to complete that “cell”. Called Phase 10A-2, the construction could begin in early 2019 to include competition of Phase 10A-2 and correcting several minor repair issues. Construction would not disrupt service to landfill customers. Schroeder said the funds for the project were available and this part of the construction would be less expensive than the first half.

•Approved allowing the Environmental Department to see quotes on pre-fabricated buildings for Twin Lakes Park campground expansion. Pre-fabricated structures were preferred over construction on-site. Pre-fabrication will allow expedited engineering and installation and ability to match the exciting structures.

The costs for both methods were similar. Twin Lakes Park is near Florence. The county has been developing the park for several years.

•Approved a motion to return the Garvin Park Trust Account to $200,000. Money was used from the account to build a bridge and bathroom and other items at the park. The board previously hadn’t dealt with keeping the trust account at the same level. •Approved a Homeland Security Cyber Security grant to be used to acquire new network switches and software to monitor the county’s network and to guard against cyber attacks. “This will allow us to purchase a fire wall,” said Tech Administrator Jason Lenz.

“This will give us more security within our network. The grant will pay for the up front costs,” said Lenz. The county will pay $1,560 per year extra and the cost of the project is $9,829.10. “Currently, we have a fire wall in place,” said Lenz, adding that the new fire wall will move the county from re-active to pro-active.

“The grant is coming from the federal (government) and we will be able to update our equipment,” said Lenz. •Discussed a proposal by the Granicus company for the development of a new county website and software package. County Administrator Loren Stomberg indicated the current website is not well accepted and an update is needed. “We need something more portable and user friendly,” said Stomberg. Costs for the website is $7,500 set up for year one and $4,150 for year two and lower for the next three years. “We haven’t had any compliments on our current website,” Stomberg added.

The agenda software is $6,500 for the first year and a little more for the following two years. Granicus has primary office locations in the U.S. (El Segundo, Denver, St. Paul, and Washington, D.C.) and one in Crawley, U.K. The Granicus company has developed websites for many similar governmental agencies.

•Approved the final two percent levy increase over last year. The two percent represents a $289,000 levy above last year. “I’m comfortable with the two percent,” said Chairman Paul Graupmann.

•The board went into closed session to discuss labor negotiations.

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