Road construction is in full swing, so please be extra cautious in your travels, especially in active work zones. Let’s have a safe summer and get everyone to their destinations without incident.
A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.
• Today the Commission and the Sheriff entered into an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which formalized our plan to implement a systematic savings plan for Federal Prisoner revenue. While the Federal Prisoner revenues are currently strong, we know all too well that this may not always be the case, and while it may be tempting to increase spending accordingly, this MOU charts a specific course for the saving of revenues above budget projections. The agreement calls for a quarterly reconciliation of actual vs. budgeted Federal Prisoner revenues with the surplus to be distributed as follows: 20% to remain in the Law Enforcement Trust Account; 40% to be placed in the newly created Emergency Fund created specifically for Jail Operations; and 40% into the newly created Retirement Savings Fund. At the end of the year, the parties will reconvene and disburse any unused Transfers from General Revenue to Law Enforcement into any of the above Funds or to the Building Fund which was created last year as a preliminary step to this agreement in an effort to save specifically for future building needs. I refer to this MOU as historic for a couple reasons. First and foremost is that there is no statutory requirement to implement such a systematic plan to save money in County Government. This agreement represents a shared goal of keeping the County on a solid financial foundation. This move is also notable in that it represents teamwork between the Commission and the Sheriff to a degree which is uncommon around the State. While a lot of Counties are embroiled in ongoing feuds over SPENDING money, here in Lincoln County we have united to create a plan for SAVING money.
• Speaking of firm financial foundations, I continue to hear people talk about the “draining of county coffers” to pay “millions and millions” in lawsuits. I hate to rain on the conspiracy parade, but lawsuits are part and parcel of County government, so we therefore spend a great deal of time in the management of these losses through Liability Insurance. Our Liability Insurance covers every liability exposure we have including auto liability, professional liability, and even a portion for cyber liability. Our premium this year is $180,000 and we usually pay under $50,000 per year in deductibles, which amounts to an annual expenditure of less than $250,000, all of which is budgeted and none of which comes from reserves. With over 50 vehicles, 200 employees, 6 facilities, and 480 miles of road, our exposure is widespread, but we continue to work to keep the premiums manageable.
• There will be no update next week as my editor-in-chief is taking some much-deserved time off. We’ll be back in 2 weeks!
That’s all I have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…