Supervisors talk about animal shelter funds, hear budget requests

The Greene County supervisors will formalize an agreement made three years ago to increase its financial support of the existing animal shelter. Assistant county attorney Thomas Laehn reminded the supervisors Monday that the 28E agreement with the city of Jefferson for operation of the shelter has not been updated since 2000. At that time the county agreed to pay $1,500 annually.

A new 28E agreement is in place for the county to provide $15,000 annually once a new animal shelter is built. But, prior to the new agreement, the supervisors agreed informally to increase funding from $1,500 to $6,000 in the interim. The informal agreement has not been implemented and the county continues to pay the lesser amount.

Laehn offered to update the agreement and check to see if any tweaks are needed to bring it into compliance with state code.

Laehn also reported that four candidates have been interviewed for the part-time position of county attorney and that he hopes to make an offer by the end of this week. Laehn want to have the new person in place before he becomes county attorney Jan. 1.

The supervisors heard requests for FY20 funding from two organizations.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) asked for $2,500, the same amount as the current year. RSVP operates the Grocery Assistance Program (GAP) with volunteer shoppers picking up groceries for homebound seniors. The county funds are used for mileage reimbursement for the volunteer shoppers.

Volunteer shoppers drove 1,138 miles on 585 shopping trips.

RSVP also has an in-home visitation program for isolated seniors. RSVP volunteers are also in Greene County elementary classrooms listening to children read on a weekly basis.

Hull reported volunteers in the GAP and in-home visitation program served 1,325 hours, at a value of more than $13,900. Calculating staff expenses for those programs showed a return on investment of $1.28 per dollar spent.

Tess Cody, director of ACCESS (for victims of domestic and/or sex assault), requested $5,000. ACCESS served 60 survivors of domestic violence or sex assault in the past year, providing 269 hours of direct service.

ACCESS has become involved with the Two Rivers program that coordinates services for the homeless and has received funds in the state’s rapid rehousing program. Being part of housing efforts helps clients that need to move out of an unsafe home. Cody called the housing efforts as “back end” work that requires staff time, although the time isn’t spent with clients.

She praised Greene County for its support system for domestic and sex assault survivors. She said Greene County is ahead of many counties in its coordination and commitment. “It’s definitely a strength,” she said.

The supervisors did not act on either request but they’ll be considered as the FY20 budget is formulated.

The supervisors acting a trustees of drainage district 187 approved an engineering report as a first step of cleaning out an open ditch. DD187 is located primarily in Franklin Township.

County engineer Wade Weiss visited with the supervisors about the proposed HVAC project at the courthouse. He said he doesn’t expect to see actual work on the project begin until 2020, and that the project will take a year to complete. One of the challenges will be relocating offices as work is done in each one. A representative from BBS (formerly Brooks, Borg, Stiles) will be at the supervisors’ Dec. 17 meeting.

He also talked about the weekend snowfall, calling it a “trial by fire” for new maintenance superintendent Ryan Baugh. Weiss said there are 24 persons who do snow removal, and “one little glitch in the system really messes it up.”

Weiss said he’s moving forward with writing a policy manual that will replace portions of the union contract. The union contract is void with the failure of the secondary roads employees to recertify the union earlier this fall. The manual will include policies for promotions, discipline, etc.

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