This Week in Lincoln County – August 28, 2017

Commission work, like any job, has its highs and lows. My philosophy is to focus on achieving positive results and letting that overpower the inevitable negativity. This serves me well for about 360 days of the year, with the other 5 being a source of minor frustration at various intervals. I must confess that I let the negativity win the day a couple times last week, but I am happy to report that a pleasant weekend has me back on top and focused on making positive things happen.

A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.
• The Commission took action to keep the 911 Dispatch operations on firm financial footing. 2018 Dispatch rates for fire, ambulance, and municipal police were approved today based upon a budget of $1.3 million which is about $50,000 less than last year. The reduction was achieved through a little belt tightening and some debt reduction. Fortunately, none of the reductions are related to staffing. To the contrary, the 2018 budget includes the addition of two additional dispatchers over the course of the fiscal year. While a few entities will experience a significant rate increase, most will see only a minor increase, while others will see a reduction in expenses. At the end of the day, all entities will pay in proportion to services they use, which has been a goal for years. Dispatch requires a significant investment in both labor and equipment. This investment is further complicated by advances in technology, which requires frequent upgrades to equipment, often with a hefty price tag. We are moving in a positive direction, and I plan to build on that momentum.
• The Commission also voted to move forward on a trade of funds with St. Louis County within the Federal Bridge Program (BRO). Once this trade is complete, we will be in position to build 2-3 bridges using our program balances to do the projects with $0 of local cash required. Again, positive momentum on which we intend to capitalize.
• Property tax levies have been set, and, as expected, the rates have been rolled back due to the increased assessed valuation. General Revenue for 2017 is .1900 which is down from .2090, and Road and Bridge is .2421 which is down from .2657.

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…

Dan Colbert
Presiding Commissioner

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