|Supervisors Disagree Over RUSS Funding|
|Monday, 19 November 2012 14:15|
An unpaid bill got the Mahaska County Supervisors talking about its future with the Regional Utility Service Systems Commission.
RUSS is a 10-county entity, which cooperates to help smaller cities or unincorporated developments secure essential services – like sewage systems.
Mahaska County has been involved with RUSS for several years but the price has gone up recently. Membership was once free, last year it was $1,000 for the year, but the bill for fiscal year 2013 is $8,000.
Mahaska County Supervisor Greg Gordy said that is too much money to pay to a program that the county doesn’t use. Mahaska Rural Water has handled Mahaska’s sewage systems in unincorporated areas.
But the county’s relationship with RUSS may not be easy to end since the 28e agreement doesn’t outline how a county can withdraw from the program.
Wapello County is currently in negotiations with RUSS following the county’s request to be released from its agreement with RUSS. RUSS is fighting the county’s request to leave.
Monday was Mahaska’s turn to decide what to do about the $8,000 bill. Supervisor Ken Rozenboom suggested a compromise, paying $3,000 to RUSS. Rozenboom said Mahaska does have a commitment to RUSS and pulling out without paying any of the $8,000 could hurt Mahaska County if it ever needed RUSS’s services in the future.
The payment of $3,000 passed by a 2-to-1 vote with Gordy voting against the payment.
In other county business:
- Mahaska County entered into a 28E agreement with Fremont over sheriff duties. Someone from the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Department will assist in Fremont 8 hours a week for an annual fee. Sheriff Paul DeGeest says the agreement is similar to those with Beacon and University Park.
- According to Conservation Board Director Dave Sedivec said Mahaska campgrounds have closed for the year. Sedivec said this year campgrounds have had the highest number of campers since 2007.
- During a presentation by Mahaska County Agricultural and Rural Development, Deann De Groot talked about several projects MCARD is working on including working on marketing strategies and helping New Sharon’s Capri Theatre raise funds for a $66,000 digital projector.
- The maintenance, attorney and sheriff’s departments all made payroll changes, including hiring a new mechanic and part-time assistant attorney.