A plan to create a county maintenance department was presented by Nate Hughes to the Grant County Court at their July 24 meeting.
Hughes said the idea has been floated around for a while. In addition to incorporating janitorial services, the department would be responsible for facilities the county owns at different locations.
Currently some facilities are maintained by the department that uses the building. Hughes said tracking changes, such as thermostat settings, could help the county save money on energy bills.
Grant County Judge Scott Myers noted that Hughes needs a shop because sometimes when he works on furniture, the fumes lead to complaints by courthouse employees.
Hughes said the court needs to decide which buildings to include in the new department. It likely would not include the fairgrounds, which has its own maintenance staff, he said.
The court agreed to review the idea and bring it back at a later date.
In other county court news:
• Commissioner Sam Palmer suggested making payments to the new Grant County Emergency Communications Agency on a quarterly basis instead of once a year after confusion over payments to the 911 dispatch agency.
A cost-sharing formula used to pay the agency is based on revenue from a statewide 911 phone tax, a 5-year rolling average of call volume by local dispatch users and assessed property values of affected taxing jurisdictions.
A new legislative bill will raise the phone tax over the next two years, which should significantly lower contributions needed from users and taxing jurisdictions.
Myers noted that 911 dispatch “has always been a hit to the county budget.” He said he didn’t think the numbers for users were accurate. He and Commissioner Jim Hamsher agreed with Palmer’s suggestion, and the court will look into whether quarterly payments can be done.
• The court approved a request by Tracey Blood on behalf of the Community Health Improvement Coalition for up to $20,000 in funding from the county’s share of recreational marijuana tax revenue. Some of the discussion addressed the paradox of using marijuana tax money for drug treatment programs.
• The court discussed a job description provided by Grant County Watermaster Eric Julsrud for an assistant watermaster. Julsrud is a state employee, but the assistant is a county position. The court agreed to send the job description to the Local Government Personnel Institute for review with no obligation by the court beyond that, Myers noted.
• A request by Steve Fletcher, the Grant County ARES emergency coordinator, to place a repeater for ham radios on the Fall Mountain communication tower was approved. Myers noted that the repeater cannot interfere with the county’s road department antenna.