Logan County's next fiscal year budget to go on display after Tuesday

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[September 19, 2016]  LINCOLN - On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, the Logan County Board's Finance Committee held their monthly meeting. The main focus of discussion was the budget for Fiscal Year 2017.

The committee has been working on the budget for the past couple of months and held a special finance meeting August 23 to make corrections on the budget draft.

Committee chairman Chuck Ruben said corrections have been made to the budget for 2017 and it is almost ready to go on display.

The committee discussed a few additional budget changes. Ruben said some money may be moved from building and grounds budget to help fill some holes in other budgets.

Ruben said several funds had negative balances for years, which he wants to avoid.

Exempt Employee guidelines means county may need to raise Assessor's salary

Ruben said the federal government has raised the payment to consider someone an 'exempt employee' to $47,500.

Ruben said the previous salary range for exempt employees was much lower.

Ruben said they may have to change the assessor's salary, a position currently held by Denise Martinek, to make her exempt, or put money in to cover overtime. Martinek sometimes works overtime hours during the busy season.

Circuit Clerk Mary Kelly will find out when exemptions take effect.

Ruben said the amount should be covered in this year's budget to be financially responsible.

Board chairman David Hepler asked Ruben if he would recommend raising Martinek's salary to $47,600 or even more.

Ruben said he would because her salary is now $45,900, so going up to $47,500 would easily cover what she would get if she were receiving overtime pay. If Martinek works enough overtime, that would push her pay up to almost the same amount.

Committee member Dave Blankenship asked whether there was documentation on how much overtime Martinek works.

Ruben said, no, because she has been exempt.

Hepler said Martinek has indicated she often puts in more than 40 hours a week.

Hepler motioned to raise the assessor's salary to $47,600. The motion would be voted at Tuesday's Regular session.

County may need to replace firewall

County Clerk and Recorder Sally Turner said there was a recent hack to the state's voter registration system and the state has put in "stopgaps" to change passwords and IP addresses so it does not affect the State Board of Elections.

Turner said she talked to the county's IT department and they recommend getting a new firewall in the next year. Most firewalls last four to six years and the county's firewall is five years old. She asked if they could get the money from the building and grounds budget.

Ruben said the building and grounds budget may have some extra money, but wanted to know the cost.

Turner said she got a quote of $6,778.79 to replace the firewall.

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Ruben said it should be brought to the attention of the building and grounds committee.

Higher budget needed for elections

Turner sent a letter to the board requesting that the amount for elections be increased from $90,096 to $95,500. She said there are several new "demands" on election officials.

Turner said requirements from the federal government mean there is a need to address different types of voters, such as overseas and military voters.

Turner said jurisdictions with more than 100,000 voters offer same day registration. She said at some point, smaller jurisdictions may also be required to offer same day registration due to equal protections under the constitution.

Turner said the county needs to be "proactive" by putting additional people in the polling places. Most county clerks and election officials are starting to put additional people in the polling places to allow for same day registration or assistance.

Board Chairman David Hepler motioned to increase the budget for elections to $95,500.

Ruben will recommend the board takes $10,000 out of the building pool line, which will allow for a buffer in the budget.

Changes to airport maintenance fund

Committee member Gene Rohlfs, who chairs the Airport and Farm Committee, requested an increase in the airport maintenance budget, which is $65,000. They is need to repaint areas of the runway to brighten it up and make it easier for planes to see. Rohlfs said it will cost around $12,000.

Ruben said he would add in $15,000 to make it "nice and even." Ruben motioned to make it $80,000.

After minor budget changes at Thursday's Board Workshop, the budget should be ready for display by the end of the month.

Finance Committee members present were Chairman Chuck Ruben, Vice Chairman Bob Farmer, Board Chairman David Hepler, Dave Blankenship, and Gene Rohlfs. Rick Aylesworth was absent. Guests were Circuit Clerk Mary Kelley, County Clerk and Recorder Sally Turner, Board office administrative assistant Amy Kuhlman, and Logan County Health Department Finance Director Katherine Yaple.

[Angela Reiners]

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