During the Clay County Council meeting Monday, Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh updated the council on the new 911 Fund.
The 911 Fund and PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) Fund were separate accounts that covered different costs for the 911 services. One fund collected the cellular phone fees, while the other collected landline fees.
According to Alumbaugh, effective July 1, the state will administer all the 911 fees.
"We'll receive the average of the last three years in the amount of money we'll receive for 911," Alumbaugh said. "By statute now, we have to take all those dollars and put them in the new 911 Fund, which they have assigned."
Instead of receiving the money from the carriers, the county will now receive the money from the state.
"Originally, when they established this, you have to approve all budgets and if there's a change in budget you have to approve that -- additionals or reductions -- and that's what the statute says for the work you do," Alumbaugh said to the council. "But we have a written acknowledgement from state board of accounts that this is not necessary. They will not take exception, if we simply take the balance of both funds, move that money by check and move it into the new 911 Fund."
The county will also take the balance of all the remaining appropriations and establish them at the exact amount in the new 911 Fund, which will combine all dispatch, expenses, salaries, etc. The other two funds will eventually be retired as inactive funds.
The new fund means the county will receive a constant monthly income for the 911 services, but it doesn't necessarily mean the income will be enough to cover the expenses to run the call center.
Meanwhile, the Clay County Council had the first reading of Ordinance No. 12, regarding nepotism within county employees.
The ordinance states one relative cannot be under supervision of another relative, based on a state statute that was passed for county governments. Those in violations can be subject to perjury with up to three years in prison. More details can be found in the county personnel handbook.
The council couldn't pass the ordinance due to the absence of councilman Larry Moss. The issue was tabled until the July meeting.
Also during the meeting, Clay County Commissioner Jack Withers raised a concern about PERF (Public Employees' Retirement Fund). Currently, the resolution, which was passed 31 years ago, doesn't allow elected officials or part-time employees to participate. Withers is interested in adding to his account while he waits to withdraw from it, but he in unable to.
"You'd have to accomplish 10 years of full-time service for a pension," Alumbaugh said. "(Withers) has a unique situation, where he didn't separate between being a public employee and an elected official. He went from one straight to the other."
If the council changed the resolution, they would have to make PERF mandatory for all the elected officials.
"I know (Withers) has an odd situation here, but I don't think it's to the benefit of the county at all to even consider this," Alumbaugh said. "I think it can have an overall negative effect on the county to do it."
The council discussed the issue but didn't make a decision about this issue.
In other county news:
* The council approved a change of trustee for the Sheriff Department's pension plan as recommended by Sheriff Mike Heaton. The change had no monetary effect,
* Clay County Nurse Kim Hyatt requested $2,000 be transferred from the LHD Trust account to use to purchase nicotine patches. The Health Department provides the patches free of charge to patients, who are referred by doctors,
* One change was made to the ordinance pertaining to the county wheel tax. Due to changing state statutes, the ordinance had to be changed from stating, "Trailers 11,000 pounds or less, registered in Clay County, are subject to a wheel tax of $20 to be paid at time of registration," to "Trailers 12,000 pounds or less, registered in Clay County, are subject to a wheel tax of $20 to be paid at time of registration." The entire ordinance will be re-advertised, and
* Commissioner Paul Sinders updated the council on the county's health insurance.
"I think we do have a good health insurance program here in Clay County," he said. "The deductible is reasonable. The commissioners review this each year, and we work very hard with our administrator to remain a good, low-cost, effective program. We try to get the best possible coverage for the lowest cost."
He went on to explain the different programs offered through the health insurance.