County Commissioner 9.9.22
By Sawyer Crenshaw
September’s second County Commissioners’ meeting opened with the Commissioners, all three of whom were present, hearing concerns regarding the proposed casino in Mountain Home. The Commissioners noted that they are unable to comment/discuss in-depth proposed projects before they are formally brought before the commission as an action item at a meeting. However, they provided resources for the members of the public who came to express concerns and conduct their civic duty.
Following some quick employee recognitions, the Commissioners heard from Tim Corder and Julie Burton-Lisle regarding their requests for funding to purchase a new tractor. Though sympathetic, the Commissioners highlighted the importance of saving money given the precarious situation the county has found itself in. Ultimately no decision was made and the discussion was tabled at the request of Commissioner Hofer.
After briefly breaking for an executive session, the Commissioners entertained an appeal made by a local disabled veteran to have his late fees and interest waived. Each of the Commissioners expressed their desire to waive the man’s fees and interest, though it was ultimately tabled after legal counsel and the county clerk requested a deeper dive into the legal culpability the county might face for waiving the fees.
In a brief Socratic seminar-esque interview, Alexis Pickering from the Ada County Health District asked the Commissioners and other county officials present questions regarding health and wellness, impacts of illness, and community health services in Elmore county.
When asked about the impacts of Covid-19 on Elmore county, Commissioners Corbus and Hofer suggested that an increase in unemployment has taken place as a result of the pandemic. Commissioner Rogers noted an increase in the division throughout the community. Ralph Blount, a county attorney present at the meeting, mentioned a sharp increase in mental health and wellness issues throughout the community and throughout the state as a whole. The Commissioners concluded their discussion with a shared hope that as Elmore County and Mountain Home continue to grow, emergency health services and other wellness programs will grow in tandem.
Nearing the end of their meeting, the Commissioners next discussed the allocation of Secure Rural School funds. In the end, it was determined that 7% of all the funds given to the county would be designated as Title Three funds. Title Three funds are funds that serve to financially aid the county and county emergency service teams during emergency events. It is not entirely clear what falls under the umbrella of “emergency events” though the county’s legal team is working toward attaining a clearer picture of what title three funds can cover.
Finally, the Commissioners once again held talks regarding the county budget, specifically the administering of COLA and distributing raises to sworn law enforcement officers. After much deliberation, the Commissioners were able to conclude who will receive COLA and the specifics of raises for sworn law enforcement. Specific numbers are unavailable due to the case-by-case nature of raises. However, it should be noted that the final dollar amount will match or, more likely, fall below the amount listed in the previously posted county budget.
The next Commissioners’ meeting will be held in the basement of the courthouse on Friday, Sept. 16 at 9 a.m.