By TIM HORAN
The mil levy for residents of Dickinson County is expected to increase between 3.2 to 3.5 mills in 2014.
That was the consensus of the Dickinson County Commission at its regular meeting Thursday morning. A public hearing has not been scheduled but tentatively set for Aug. 22.
Chairman LaVerne Myers said two big ticket items are responsible for the increase: a photo survey of the county and firewall for law enforcement communications. Part of the increase is also to set aside money for judicial upgrades in the future.
“We are not going to use that money now,” he said of the improvements to law enforcement, jail or court system.
Myers said it was wise to raise money for judicial improvements before the upgrades are made.
“What we raise probably won’t fund all of it,” he said of the upgrades.
Janelle Dockendorf, finance director, said the aerial photography will fly the county taking pictures.
“That is used by numerous departments,” she said of the aerial photographs. “The other big ticket item is for law enforcement and the computer system. Those are important items that we will have to take care of but they will not continue on.”
The aerial photography and firewall for law enforcement communications with the state are each $100,000 budgeted items.
“Both of those items need to be done,” Myers said. “In the past the arial photography has been pushed back to keep the mil levy where it was at but we can only push it back so far.”
“Enough changes have taken place in the past 5 to 7 years,” Dockendorf said of the county landscape.
In other comments, Myers said the addition of Saline County to the Juvenile Detention Center has been working out well.
Saline County recently had a dozen juveniles while the other counties involved in the Center, of which Dickinson County is one, made up to 24 detainees.
“It has been staying pretty consistently around that number,” he said, adding that capacity is 28. “They only had one day when they got to that point. It is bringing in more revenue.”
In the county administrator report, Dockendorf, who was filling in for Brad Homman, said Pottawattamie County was willing to assist Dickinson County in administering a grant to help preserve the Topeka Shiner. The small minnow-like fish is endangered and Dickinson County applied for a federal grant to assist in culvert and bridge repair to not disrupt the habitat.
The Detroit Sewer project is complete, she said. There will be a meeting at 7 p.m. July 29 at the Enterprise Community Building to discuss fees and the project. Dockendorf said the homes are being added to the new system.
“They are cleaning out, crushing the old septic tanks and filling in,” she said, adding by the time of the July 29 meeting all of the houses in the district should be on the new system.
The county’s attorney Doug Thompson said that the process to sell 22 partials for back taxes is underway. He said that landowners can pay the back taxes up to the day of sale which has yet to be determined, however a $540 fee will be charged.
“Now we have court costs, cost of publications and title work that is being done,” Thompson said.
Volunteers in the Navarre area also started the process to upgrade the old Navarre Grade School into a community center. Details will be published next week.
In other business, the Commission:
* announced the resignation of Gary Mitchell to the Dickinson County Planning Commission;
* approved the consent agenda which included the minutes of the July 11 work study and meeting, payroll of $303,162.40, abatements of $869.30 and wire payments of $2,662.76.