As more than a dozen Adams County department heads presented their 2021-22 budgets, several of those departments decreased their request from what was asked for the previous fiscal year.
The budgets were presented at the Adams County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.
While the changes in budgets weren’t directly tied to personnel, several department heads said they have struggled to fill vacancies and retain employees with the current wage steps.
County Attorney Donna Fegler-Daiss and Public Defender Shon Lieske each said it has been hard to hire lawyers for their respective departments when prospective hires can work for nearby counties making up to 20% more.
Not all of the departments decreased their asking.
As Adams County continues to plan for its new justice center on the south edge of Hastings, costs for housing prisoners continues to rise. The jail budget saw a 12.8% increase from what was requested during the previous fiscal year — $2.95 million up from the $2.61 million budget for 2020-2021.
The Sheriff’s Office budget saw a 10.7% increase — $2.61 million up from $2.36 million.
County Board members voted 7-0 to repeal the 23-year-old resolution that permitted up to a 5-cent levy for townships.
Adams County voters approved during the 2018 election discontinuing the township form of government. That change went into effect in January.
Townships were established by counties primarily to oversee maintenance of rural roads.
A few of the townships turned over a balance to the county when the townships were discontinued.
Highway Superintendent Dawn Miller said the county can spend out of an available township fund to maintain the roads in that township.
Now, they are no longer township roads. They are secondary roads according to the county designation.
The townships averaged a levy of .0001 cents from 2017 to 2019. Levies during that time ranged from nothing to nearly 2 cents.
Those townships averaged about $2,673 in maintenance and $6,802 in gravel according to 2021 rates. The total annual average for gravel plus maintenance is $151,588.
Miller initially figured $153,706 would be enough for the Roads Department for gravel and maintenance.
That amount would only cover about five miles of township road per township at current costs, however.
“(The Road and Bridge Committee) relooked at these valuations and said $231,643.87, which would give you nine miles of township of new gravel at current gravel,” she said.
In other business, the board:
- Unanimously approved a bid of $45,976 from Ziemba Roofing of Hastings for replacement of the roof at the Adams County Extension Office Building.
Unanimously approved as Bo
- ard of Equalization motor vehicle tax exemption applications from Head Start, Hastings Family YMCA and RYDE Transit.
- Unanimously approved as Board of Equalization a permissive exemption request from the Kenesaw United Childcare Coalition.
- Unanimously denied as Board of Equalization a permissive exemption request from Life House Church for a church-owned residence at 415 S. Woodland Ave.
- Unanimously approved tax list corrections.
- Unanimously approved the annual report and resolution for county tax sale certificates.
- Unanimously approved pledged securities with Five Points Bank totaling $100,000.
- Unanimously approved a $25,000 improvement grant award from the Adams County Convention and Visitors Bureau to the Hastings Family YMCA as part of the Y’s planned project to renovate and expand the 16th Street building.
- Unanimously approved a $6,750 improvement grant award from the Adams County Convention and Visitors Bureau to the Hastings Eagles Club to repair the façade of the back of the building at 107 N. Denver Ave., and add a new new, larger mural there.
- Unanimously approved a conditional use permit to build a 120-foot monopole high-speed internet tower at 11510 S. Antioch Ave.
- Unanimously approved the Chris Trausch Subdivision as well as unanimously approved the vacation of H. Goble Subdivision at the southeast corner of Overland Avenue and Nebraska Highway 74.
- Unanimously approved a contract with Olmsted and Perry for $49,050 for a civil engineer contract to work on the justice center project.