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County hears budget requests; assistant appraiser leaving

Staff writer

County commissioners heard budget requests from several departments and agencies Monday, signed off on a competing grant application to provide internet services to Lehigh, discussed a farmer under order to replace his fence, and bid farewell to assistant county appraiser Carl Miller.

Miller was hired three years ago on a $30,000 annual contract to work part-time, first as appraiser and later as assistant appraiser, while Nikki Reid, a 10-year employee, trained for appraiser duties.

“I think we’re at that point now where you’re going to let me go,” Miller told commissioners. “I’m happy with that. That was the plan all along. I’m very confident in the appraiser’s office.”

Miller said Reid knew she could call him anytime she needed help.

“You’ve done what you said you would do, and we appreciate that,” commissioner Randy Dallke said.

Home Communications representatives asked commissioners to sign a letter of support for a grant to install fiber internet to Lehigh.

“You know you’re the second one that has come to us,” commissioner Kent Becker said. “The other company already has a commitment to the northern part of the county.”

Commissioners earlier signed a letter of support for Vyve’s application for the same grant.

Becki Regier and Eric Norstrom of Home Communications told commissioners residents would be charged $60 a month for internet service unless they qualified based on income for a price break.

Both companies cannot get the grant to serve Lehigh.

Prairie View chief executive Marcy Johnson asked commissioners for $97,232 in next year’s budget.

Prairie View serves 594 Marion County outpatients, of whom 92% were underinsured or uninsured, according to Prairie View. More than 43% of services are provided as charitable care, she said.

In the past year, Prairie View has expanded services to include jail liaisons, law enforcement support, and additional services.

Harvey-Marion County Community Developmental Disability Organization asked for $70,000 — the same as last year. The agency serves 341 Marion County clients, provides 258 people with management services, and has 141 county residents waiting for services, executive director Kevin Gaeddert said.

Commissioners asked about the progress of Project Search, a program to provide job training for CDDO clients.

“Tabor College actually hired two of them,” Gaeddert said.

Tabor has one Project Search graduate working in its main office, Becker said.

The health department’s budget request was $579,369, although much of that would be paid by grants, county nurse Krista Schneider said.

Grants related to COVID-19 padded department spending since 2020 but are scheduled to expire June 30, 2024.

Situations she factored into her budget include a possible new building, unknown response to a seasonal COVID-19 vaccine, and a possible increase in shingles vaccination because Medicare Part D now covers the shots.

Dallke told commissioners he had driven by Peabody farmer Randy Eitzen’s property to see whether progress had been made since Eitzen was ordered to repair and replace fences.

Dallke said old fencing had been removed and a new ditch had been put in.

County engineer Brice Goebel told commissioners county employees had installed new ditches.

Last modified June 15, 2023

 

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