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Lyon County talks end-of-the-year items

December 19, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - Several items that needed to be finalized in time for the new year came before the Lyon County Board on Tuesday. The county's 2013 budget and levy, capital improvement plan and employee wage schedule were all discussed by commissioners.

Commissioners voted to adopt a 2013 levy of $12.1 million. The county levy has been frozen at that level since 2008.

Lyon County Public Works Director Suhail Kanwar presented a draft of the county's five-year capital improvement plan during a public hearing Tuesday. The plan serves as a timeline of upcoming county road and bridge projects through 2017, although changes could be made because of funding availability, Kanwar said. Projects planned for 2013 include safety improvements to the intersection of Lyon County Road 7 and U.S. Highway 14, a resurfacing project on County Road 10, and the replacement of a bridge on County Road 7, about three miles north of U.S. Highway 14.

Article Photos

Photo by Deb Gau
Outgoing Lyon County Commissioner Bob Fenske receives a plaque for his 20 years of service from Commissioner Rodney Stensrud.

There were no comments from the public on the improvement plan. But commissioners had some feedback, including comments about plans to build part of a bike trail connecting the cities of Marshall and Lynd with Camden State Park. Under the capital improvement plan, about $183,000 of county funds would go to pave a portion of the trail within Camden Park.

Commissioner Rick Anderson said he had some reservations about the county paving a trail on state land, while Commissioner Rodney Stensrud said he thought the county's Twin Lakes Park project needed to be a higher priority.

"All of a sudden this trail is the most important thing," Stensrud said, while a road realignment associated with the new county park would not be finished for a few years. Stensrud also objected to a $950,000 estimated cost for that realignment.

Kanwar replied that the county has not yet approved a project design for the Twin Lakes realignment, and he could go with a less expensive option if the board directed him to do so.

Commissioners also revisited issues with an updated county pay scale proposed for 2013. The county is required to update the pay scale under state equity laws. At the board's last meeting, several county department heads had questions about how the new scale would affect employees, and whether the new salary ranges accurately reflected the work employees were doing.

Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said he, Stensrud, and Commissioner Steve Ritter met with county department heads last week to discuss their concerns. Based on those conversations, he said he recommended the board ask a consultant to re-examine certain positions, including county ditch inspector, Geographic Information Systems specialist and technical assistant. The salary ranges in the proposed scale also do not reflect contractual pay changes being negotiated with county law enforcement, he said. Finally, Stomberg said, if the new pay scale was adopted, it would be contingent on passing state reviews.

Commissioners voted to adopt the new pay scale effective Dec. 24, with the recommendations Stomberg presented. Commissioners said they would further examine employee concerns about overtime pay in the near future.

Members of the county board recognized board chairman Bob Fenske for his years as a county commissioner. Fenske has served on the county board since 1993, and Tuesday was his final regular board meeting in office.

The board approved a resolution setting county commissioner salaries and per diem rates for 2013. The commissioner's salary was set at $17,500 a year, with an additional $200 per month paid to the board chairman.

The board met in a closed session to discuss salaries for county elected officials in 2013. After the closed session, Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said the county auditor/treasurer, recorder, sheriff and attorney would all have salary increases. The auditor/treasurer's salary would increase to $82,000 from $80,000. The recorder's salary would increase to $61,250 from $57,700. The sheriff's salary would increase to $90,350 from $86,050. The county attorney's salary would increase to $104,350 from $101,600.



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