Commissioners consider contracting for more financial advice

The annual cost of consultation accounting for Marion County may jump from $28,000 to $40,000.

The increase comes at a time when the Board of Commissioners could also use more financial advice as decisions get more complicated.

Scot Loyd, of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd LLC, suggested to the commission at its Friday payday meeting that it use his firm for financial advice and budgeting only, and allow him to help find another firm to conduct the annual audit.

Loyd said Marion County is the only one among 40 government contracts his company maintains where the budget and the audit are done under the same contract. He?s been doing this since 1986, he said, with only minor increases in cost to the county.

He has to change the amount charged anyway, he said, because, for example, last year?s fee of $28,382 plus a consultation fee of $715 and extra budget meetings for $2,046 should have been translated out to an actual time charge of $46,419.

Loyd said adjustments for charges show Marion County has been undercharged more than $105,000 from 2000 to 2006.

Loyd said he provides the same services for Osage County, a comparably sized county, and the budget and audit as separate contracts cost that county between $50,000 and $60,000.

Although the charges would be higher, Loyd said the commissioners could make much better use of his advisory role if he wasn?t restricted from giving advice because he also does the audit.

For instance, Loyd said, he could be giving the commissioners better financial advice on proposed projects such as the community corrections center.

The commissioners asked him to come back for the next meeting with a more specific proposal.

County Clerk Carol Maggard reported a payday pay-out figure of $705,801, which included a $56,000 final annual balance for services for people with developmental disabilities.

She said encumbered funds left from 2006 totaled $51,680.

Sales tax paid by the state to the county totaled $44,251 in November to bring the total received for 2007 to date to $496,699, which is $77 more than a year ago at this time.

Maggard said the total collected for 12 months in 2006 was $541,379. There is always a lag time in sales tax because what consumers pay one month is collected by the state during the following month, and then distributed to the counties in the month after that.

Commissioner Dan Holub said guidelines for a private proposal to build cabins at Marion County Lake may follow the U.S. Army Engineers? guidelines for those at federal reservoirs. He said the only county cost involved would be to bring utility services to sites, including sewer, water and electricity.

Bringing in these utilities could also be used to upgrade other locations at the lake, he said.

Diedre Serene, county health administrator, reported flu shots have been given to more than 800 persons in clinics, including 45 school and dental staff in Marion on Oct. 23, 140 county employees Oct. 23, 93 Burns residents Oct. 23, 177 general public members Oct. 24, 30 Tampa Senior Center members Oct. 26, 49 Hillsboro Senior Center members Oct. 26, 26 at Marion Assisted Living Center Oct. 29, 33 at Marion Senior Center Oct. 29, 25 staff at Centre High and Centre Elementary Oct. 30, seven at Lincolnville Senior Center Oct. 30, 84 in the Peabody community Oct. 30, 31 Hillsboro school staff Nov. 5, 61 in the Florence community Nov. 8, and 51 at the Goessel Senior Center Nov. 9.

Serene said flu vaccinations will continue to be given at the county health office on Main Street in Marion every Wednesday until the supply is gone.

Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville said the Schilling Co. contracted for road surfacing on Sunflower has agreed to come back in the spring to repatch five areas. If the company doesn?t complete the work and the county has to do it, Summerville said Schilling would lose roughly $8,000 in payment.

He said County Attorney Susan Robson has recommended vacating roadway on 70th between Sunflower and Remington to avoid liability on a culvert and a bridge that have been fenced from public use in pasture land.

The commissioners split area diesel fuel bids for road and bridge. The bid for areas 1 and 2 went to Cardie Oil of Tampa for $9,044.72, with areas 3 and 4 going to Cooperative Grain & Supply at Hillsboro for $11,014.56.

The commissioners expressed growing concern with fuel prices because they said the same bids were half those prices only three years ago.

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