Board of Supervisors approves drafts of 2020 CIP for public comment

Robbie Sequeira Special to the Herald

The Board of Supervisors on Feb. 5 unanimously approved a draft of the county’s Capital Improvement Plans for public review and comment for fiscal year (FY) 2020.

While the CIP is extended over the course of five years, FY21, ‘22 and ‘23 cover anticipated projects.

The public comment period for the CIP is open from Feb. 5 to March 1. The board will then review public comment and provide staff with directions for revisions at its March 5 meeting.

The CIP runs on a fiscal year basis — July 1 through June 30 and defines projects on a five-year timeframe.

The current plan for FY19 totaled $5.5 million in projects, while the estimate for the FY20 is $4.7 million.

One notable alteration made during the meeting was the decision to put $1.5 million in funding for FY19 and FY20 for the county’s $3 million commitment to the countywide interoperable radio communication upgrade, Project StoryComm.

However, the board will look to fine-tune those amounts over the coming weeks as well.

The timeframe for FY20 runs through July 2019 and June 2020, while FY21 runs from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

On March 12, the board will formally adopt the CIP with fiscal 2020 coming into effect on July 1.

in other board of supervisors news

n The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to decrease a recommended $1,000 in compensation for the Board of Supervisors chairperson from the Story County Compensation Board at its Jan. 28 meeting.

On Jan. 28, the Compensation Board approved $2,408 raises for all three supervisors, as well as an additional $1,000 for the board chair.

Under Iowa Code 331.907, which is a statue that determines the pay of the auditor, treasurer, recorder, sheriff, county attorney, and supervisors position, the board was able to decrease the recommended compensations to set their salaries to an equal rate of $82,665.

According to Chairperson Lauris Olson, during the closing minutes of the Jan. 28 meeting, one of the members of the compensation board called for an additional $1,000 in compensation for the board chair.

Olson said she didn’t catch the motion, and “would’ve stopped it right away.”

Since 2017, the board has operated under a compensation plan stemming from a proposal from Supervisor Rick Sanders that recommended the board chair not be given an extra $1,000 in compensation, which was agreed upon.

n After floods in 2018 ransacked the Heart of Iowa trail that runs through Story County, the Story County Conversation Board announced bids for repairs of the trail.

The board received three bids on two plots of land.

Howery Construction, of Rockwell, placed a bid on plot two of the trail for $558,607.88, while ConStrunct Inc., of Ames, bid $168,218 on plot one, and $568,000 thousand plot two.

Mike Cox, Story County Conservation Board director, will review the final bids and after consultation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will bring a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors at a future meeting.

n Dustin Ingram and Brenda Dryer presented the Ames Economic Development And Workforce Quarterly Report to the board, and shared some notable year-end workforce statistics in the county.

Over the last twelve months, the Ames Metropolitan Statistical Area saw an increase of as many 600 jobs, with the annual gain stemming from growth in the private services with 400-plus jobs.

Additionally, both government and goods-producing sectors increased by 100 jobs.

In the last 18 months, 962 new jobs have been announced throughout Story County.

Ingram and Dryer also announced the 2019 Story County Labor Shed study, funded by the state, is set for a launch date of summer 2019, and a June 2020 completion date.

Noted by Dryer as the gateway to jobs in Story County, received 107,000 searches in 2018, with 745 registered job seekers and 307 registered employers.

Dryer said they are constantly looking to get more employers to post and be active participants on the website.

n The board unanimously approved to a motion to add one additional telecommunicator personnel in the Story County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division, effective March 3.

Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald identified the need for an additional dispatcher during a budget presentation for FY20.

Fitzgerald requested the March 3 start-date, as opposed to the July 1 fiscal year start date to fill the position in a timely manner and establish the position on a regular payroll schedule.

Fitzgerald said the communication is currently short 1.7 positions and could face three potential vacancies in the coming weeks.

Fitzgerald said they are down one dispatcher which has been vacant since June, another dispatcher that received a conditional offer from the Ames Police Department, and a recently-hired dispatcher who is out on leave until the end of March.

So far, $49,000 in overtime has been paid to the communication center for FY18 due to the vacancies.

In total, the sheriff’s office would be down three dispatchers, while facing struggles recruiting.

“Much like many of Iowa law enforcement departments, we’re having a struggle recruiting,” Fitzgerald said. “Our numbers are way down.”

Sanders said the board will have to identify and approve an extra $21,000 for the FY19 budget to accommodate the new position.