Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You can't push a rope uphill

<$BlogMetaData$>You can’t push a rope up the hill.

I swear, the way the County Commissioners treat a budget is like trying to push a rope uphill. They really got their knickers in a wad this year and emphatically said to the county employees “no raises.” And that is where it ended. Oh, that didn’t include a $100 dollar a month stipend increase for the chairman of the commission. Ross Jordan said that the commissioner works so hard and puts in so much extra time that he is deserving of an extra $100 a month, so slam bam thank you ma’am they gave Doyle a raise. AND he humbly accepted it, thank you. I would think he would want to set an example for the county employees that the commissioners should take a cut in pay not a raise. He just sat there and had a little smirk on his face.

I guess there is no such thing as a budget being set in stone is there? It was just 2 months ago that the sheriff came to the commissioners and asked for a new Pick-up truck because one of the sheriff’s cars is on its last leg, and the department wants to start converting the fleet to pick-ups to make it easier to traverse the back roads of the county to better serve the residents. He also advised the commissioners that he had extra money in the budget to pay for it. So rather than turn the money back into the general fund like he should do, the board said to go with it. The sheriff had already been looking for a replacement vehicle because Fanta-C-Auto had one that was just what the sheriff needed. So again, slam bam thank you ma’am the deal was done. Now, I’m not 100% sure that the deputies get to take these vehicles home with them when their shift is done, but I think they do.

Well, at the commissioners meeting this week, the commissioners were talking among themselves that there was a request before the commission for a new 4 x 4 vehicle, preferably a pickup, so that the county employees and the county assessor could make better use of the employees time by having a pick up to drive around in so they didn’t have to pack a car full of the stuff they needed to do assessments of the homes in the county. The commissioners joked about them wanting a Suburban or a Tahoe. (Chuckle chuckle) they couldn’t really decide what to get and to go out for bids they had to be specific because they can’t just call a dealer and say ‘hey I need a pick-up.’ So they called Dot Kistner up to the meeting to talk about her needs. She said they needed a bigger vehicle so they could all fit into it with their stuff when they go out assessing. The commissioners asked her how many miles she would drive a week, since this would be a big factor in deciding what type of vehicle to get. (We haven’t even talked money or budget yet). She told them they just finished doing Wynstone and are going into North Sioux City and that would be mostly city driving. The commissioners asked how fast they needed to go and Dot replied 65mph. (speed limit on county roads is 55) but that most of the time they would be just parking the vehicle and walking. She also said that it would be 3 to 5 years before they got out into the rural areas. The commissioners thanked her for her input. Doesn’t anyone worry that with the price of gas headed to $5 a gallon that a pick-up or SUV might be a bit expensive to operate? Or doesn’t the county worry about things like that since they buy bulk gas?

Whoa here Nelly! Is Dot trying to say the Assessor’s office will be driving more than 40,000 miles a year? That is a lot of miles when you don’t even leave the county. I don’t believe the assessor’s office has someone in the field 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The commissioners were inferring that in three to five years they would get her a new vehicle for driving in the rural areas? I could hardly believe what I was hearing. BUDGET GUYS, BUDGET! Where the heck is all this money coming from to buy all these new vehicles? Does anyone in the county keep track of the maintenance costs on a regular basis for each vehicle? Is it really necessary we travel in such comfort? Do we really need a new vehicle for the assessor or can we make do with maybe a good USED vehicle? This county just had to opt out for $550,000 because there isn’t enough money in the coffers to keep up with trying to make sure the infrastructure doesn’t take a dump on us and the commissioners are talking getting some NEW (different) vehicles. My-my -my -my -my.

There was an article in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader last month about the Minnehaha commissioners shuffling money between agencies in the county to enable them to complete certain projects before the bad weather sets in. there are other examples but the ruling that came down was yes, the commissioners can do this IF it means not having delays etc. I think our commissioners eyes lit up when they read this, because they have been shuffling money in the county for years.

Last year, they took $46,000+ from the budget of Mr. Sexton (building custodian) to pay for the parking lot across the street from the court house. They took $25,000+ from the budget of Mr. Roggow (Highway department) to pay for the easement of the old weigh station down in North Sioux City. They still have to find the money to build the road because nothing has been budgeted for this year. Now maybe one can understand why I go to all these meetings, when all this money can be spent and they blame it on the employees for overspending and not themselves for being so frivolous. Just goes to show you, that you CANNOT push a rope uphill.


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