Stevens County Commissioners discuss weather and budget concerns

In a meeting that focused mainly on preparing for winter and also preparing for next year’s budget, the Stevens County Commissioners had a lot to talk about on November 15. Emergency Manager Dona Greiner spoke via zoom about Winter Weather Awareness Week saying that this information is also shared on the County facebook page. She said that this information is always a good reminder about how to drive safely in snow, have survival kits in the vehicle and the number to call for current road conditions. This number is 511.

Jan Gomer, of Stevens County Human Resources, gave a staff update which proved that she has been very busy. She recommended the promotion of Megan Copeland to Lead Social Worker and also promoting Katia Brundage to Social Worker. She asked for a motion to backfill the positions as needed.

Hannah Michaelson will be promoted to Income Maintenance Supervisor and her position will be backfilled. The job of Sign Technician was offered to a candidate and she was waiting for a response. The commissioners accepted the resignation of Kevin Johnson who was a Highway Equipment operator. She asked the commissioners to approve the hire of a part-time intermittent snow plow operator for the winter to cover any extra hours or vacation time.

She reported that the Sheriffs Office is now ready to look internally for another Investigator/Deputy Sheriff. This will not be an added position but an internal promotion.

With all the personnel needs in mind, the board began to discuss the next budget. County Administrator Rebecca Young presented the budget report through the end of September. She went through each fund and noted some areas where the county is over or under the budget. Overall the funds are meeting the budget, except for the Sheriff’s Office which has undergone changes since the budget was approved.

Young also reported on the discussion during a closed session that took place on November 11. The discussion centered around Group Health Insurance which is seeing a 49%  increase this year. The county commissioner decided to make a final decision at the November 29 meeting after allowing the employee bargaining unit to weigh in on the decision. The board is recommending a change in the insurance carrier.

Due to the increase in health insurance, Young stated that the proposed levy increase of 5.5% should remain. The public will be able to learn more about the levy increase at the Truth in Taxation meeting on November 29 beginning at 4 p.m.