Your county government at work: 2012 in the books

Yes, 2012 is history, another year in the books, for better or worse. Let’s take a look back at the first year of your 2013-2016 board.
Our first meeting of each term involves several housekeeping actions. One of those actions was to split the county administrator position from the county road manager position. These jobs may legally be joined or separate. Both are very demanding on the holder and crucial to the welfare of the county, and therefore larger than one person.
In appreciation of Sonny Clay for his many years of dedicated service in both positions, the board voted to allow him to retain his full salary as we searched for and hired his replacement as county administrator. After six months of the advertisement and interviewing process, we chose Mike King of Greenwood Springs as full time administrator.
Mike brought new organizational and communication skills to the position. This was particularly important in that our board, more than any previous board, communicates by email and texts with each other and other county officials as needed to keep our county responsive to your needs.
As time goes on, Mike will develop a database of county affairs that will be greatly appreciated by subsequent boards in knowing where our county stands financially and otherwise as they take office.
In freeing Sonny to be a full time road manager, the board expects his concentration on our 894 miles of county roads to give us tighter management of the nearly $7 million road and bridge budget. Meanwhile, Mike, as county administrator, oversees or monitors the more than $4 million in budgets for county administration, purchasing, building and grounds, emergency management, airports and solid waste.
Another legacy board action was the negotiation of Lane Distribution Facility lease for the next 5 years. Since Lane never produced the contractual 150 jobs, they have paid a monthly penalty of $37,500 in addition to monthly lease payments of $11,000. With the contract renewal, the penalty dropped off so Lane officials requested continuing lease payments of $11,000. Negotiations continued over several months until Lane agreed to monthly lease payments of $28,500.
Another important issue before the board was employee health insurance. Unfortunately, claims had exceeded premiums by $500,000, causing the premium to increase by $50,000 monthly. Even though this was obviously a budget blaster, the board took time to evaluate several options. Chancery clerk Ronnie Boozer and Mike Manning of Galloway-Chandler-McKinney Insurance worked out a self-insurance plan that protected both taxpayers and employees.
The board had to add a $50 monthly charge to each employee who enrolls in the plan to make the plan affordable to taxpayers.
There are many other issues the board handled through the year that I do not have space to discuss. I hope you have found our meeting videos on either Cable One, Metro Cast, monroecountyms.net or youtube.com/user/monroecountyms.
<b>Carol Crawford </b>is a Monroe County supervisor representing District 3.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.