Daycare, sheriff’s union contract, damaged roads discussed at supes’ meeting

A committee in Scranton discussing ways to improve access to daycare in Scranton is turning its attention to an after-school program.

Dawn Rudolph, who is on the committee and also a county supervisor, reported to the board Monday that a survey conducted during the late summer showed there would not be enough families using a full-day center for it to be financially self-sustaining.
“We have a budget of $0, but we’d like to get something going,” Rudolph said.

The committee hopes to collaborate with the Scranton public library and local churches for an after-school program at the Scranton Community Center. Volunteers could be used for the program, whereas a full-day center would need to meet state requirements for staffing.

She said several young families in Scranton are reluctant to enroll their young children in a new center, worrying that it would fail and they would have lost their spots at existing daycare centers.

Also at the supervisors’ Oct. 30 meeting, the supervisors used their control of the county purse strings to exert power of county sheriff Jack Williams.

Williams had a pair of resolutions on the agenda to approve. The first was a resolution to hire Brandon Turner as a fulltime sheriff’s deputy at an annual wage of $42,000. The resolution includes an increase in pay to $42,500 after Turner completes the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

The supervisors approved that resolution.

The second resolution was to increase the salary of deputy Chris Frehse to $43,300 after his Oct. 27 completion of the academy.

The supervisors tabled approval of that resolution. They had approved a resolution identical to the first when Frehse was hired, and the union contract calls for the $42,500 wage, not the larger wage.

“I don’t want to argue about it, but $800 is $800,” board chair John Muir said, and he noted the union contract.

There was an indirect reference to the secondary roads department union contract, and Muir pointed out that deputies have more opportunities to work overtime than secondary roads employees. Williams countered that “deputies should be paid more than truck drivers,” and that “we need to chat about the union contract.”

Muir planned to meet with Williams later that day on the subject.

County engineer Wade Weiss said discussions with MidAmerican Energy’s contractor on the Beaver Creek wind turbine project and who should pay for road repairs are “down to nuts and bolts.”

At issue is who permitted moving the huge RT crane and other heavy equipment on the roads, with Weiss and the contractor both finding clauses in the legal agreement placing that responsibility on the other party.

MidAmerican Energy paid $42,000 for construction permits for the Beaver Creek project. That money is in the county’s general fund. Weiss wants to see it transferred to the secondary roads budget.

MidAmerican plans to build another 85 turbines in Greene County next year. Weiss asked the supervisors not to approve any permits for that project until the question of paying for road repair relative to the first project is resolved.

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