WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Asks Dept Heads for Cuts

Jan 30, 2014

The Lee County Board of Supervisors wants the county's department heads to take closer looks at their budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year.

Lee County Board of Supervisors

Specifically, the panel wants each department head to find up to $10,000 that can be cut by Friday, Feb. 7.

The request followed a lengthy discussion about how the supervisors planned to account for a roughly $400,000 shortfall in the general basic fund, which is the county's primary checking account.

A property tax increase is not an option because that specific rate is at the maximum allowed by the state of Iowa.

That led to the suggestion that budget reductions are now the only way to go in this process, including the possibility of cutting $100,000 from economic development, $80,000 from conservation for a shower-house at Wilson Lake, and reducing elected leader pay raises by 40%.

Chairman Ernie Schiller disagrees with that approach, saying deficit spending may have to be an option.

"If it is deficit spending, which I am not for, it just might have to be," says Schiller, "because we have to build some infrastructure if you are going to maintain and improve revenue streams."

The request of the department heads could save the county around $150,000.

The supervisors will hold another budget workshop in mid-February.


Meanwhile, Sheriff Jim Sholl says the public really stepped up to help his department during a difficult situation on Wednesday.

He told the board that it was determined that horses owned by a Donnellson man, who is facing multiple animal neglect charges, were still being neglected.

Sholl says it was decided to remove 34 horses from Jeff Graber’s care.

He says the process was much easier than anticipated because members of the public turned out to help relocate the horses.

Sholl says 20 horses were taken to a rescue facility in Appanoose County while the rest are spread throughout the area.

He says a hearing will be held within 40 days to determine whether the horses will be returned, sold or adopted.