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Serene questions FACT funding

News editor

County Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene had a simple question for commissioners Monday: How was the $6,000 county allotment for Families and Communities Together to be paid?

Commissioners voiced support for the funds at an August meeting with four FACT representatives, but FACT Director Ashlee Gann said Tuesday they’re still waiting on a check.

“I never received official word, any actual detail on how it was going to work,” Gann said.

Gann contacted Serene because funds in the past have come from the health department budget.

It was Serene’s budget proposal that prompted the August meeting with FACT, as at the time she had proposed writing FACT’s allocation out of the health department budget to fund more health-specific services. Out of that discussion came a compromise.

“What was decided was that $3,000 would come out of the health department and $3,000 out of the general fund, so they’re wondering where their payment is,” Serene said.

Serene and commissioners requested financial information from FACT in August, and Serene said it was slow in coming.

“I had asked, before I made any more payments, I asked for their expenditures,” Serene said. “I didn’t get any. Finally at the end of the year I asked them, and I got some at the end of December or the first part of January. So I didn’t make payments until I was going to get this.”

“I think there’s also the question of how this money is being used,” Commissioner Dan Holub said.

At that point, Serene broadened the discussion to question whether the FACT allocation could be put to better use.

“In the last six months we’ve had several people come in with needs looking for assistance, and they can’t find it anywhere in the county,” Serene said. “FACT only helps if you have children in school, or have children of school age. I guess I just don’t feel comfortable funding certain positions that don’t serve the whole county.”

Serene said she thought the county’s original investment in FACT was intended as “seed money” to help the organization get off the ground. As of April 2013, the county had given FACT $68,500, she said.

Commissioners asked Clerk Tina Spencer to review the minutes from the August meeting to determine what action, if any, they took at the time.

Gann said she is scheduled to appear at an upcoming commission meeting to revisit the funding issue.

Road and bridge

Bridges were the first order of business for Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford, who told commissioners he intends to remove seven bridges that are on the state’s “fracture critical” inspection list.

“The cost for this inspection every year on these is $29,500,” Crawford said. “We’re going to take care of most of these with train cars and culverts.”

“That’s kind of an eye-opener,” Commissioner Randy Dallke said. He suggested the bridge replacements happen before the state comes out for the 2015 inspections.

Crawford brought up the proposed Doyle Creek wind farm and the potential of damage to roads large semi trailers would use to bring in the towers, blades, and motors.

“I don’t feel like it’s a good idea until we have someone from the company come out and drive with me to show me the route they’re going to take so I can have a plan of what we need to do, and not just sign off on something right away,” Crawford said.

Spencer showed commissioners agreements that have already been signed for the project.

“On none of them do they have any routes or right-of-ways listed, and they’ve all been signed in the past on every one of these phases, but they’re not providing that information,” she said. “I just question whether you want to be signing a blanket document for these without that information.”

Commissioners agreed specifics should be pursued. Holub said the cost of modifications and repairs necessitated by the project are to be borne by the builder.

Last modified March 11, 2015

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