Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The Callaway County Commission met with the Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann, Eastern District Commissioner Randy Kleindienst, and Western District Commissioner Donald Kritzer present.
The Callaway County Commission met to approve meeting minutes.
Eastern District Commissioner Randy Kleindienst made a motion to approve the minutes dated September 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and October 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21, 2016.
Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer seconded the motion.
All in favor…ayes have it.
Emergency Meeting re Tax Levies
The Callaway County Commission called an Emergency Meeting per RSMo 610.020.
Commissioner Kritzer stated that this meeting is urgent and important enough to call an emergency meeting and forego the traditional 24 hour advance notice of an official Commission meeting. Those in attendance of this meeting were Bill Johnson, Kathy Holschlag, and Mayor Leroy Benton, of the City of Fulton; Jacque Cowherd, of Fulton School District; Charlie
Anderson, of Callaway County Ambulance District; Sarah Gladman and Pam Oestreich, of the County Collector’s office; Mikey Salisbury, of the County Assessor’s office; Denise Hubbard, County Clerk; and Adam Brake, of the Fulton Sun.
Commissioner Jungermann began the meeting by stating that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss discrepancies with the current tax levies, primarily with the new construction figures used to set the levy rates. He mentioned that the Commission has been contacted by the City of Fulton, Fulton School District, and the Callaway County Ambulance District regarding their concerns with the 2016 levy rates. Also, the Commission had previously questioned the new construction figures that were used to set the County levy rates.
Mrs. Hubbard then explained that she had transposed the numbers when she typed up the letters to the City of Fulton and to the Fulton School District. For the school district, the transposed numbers led to an approximated $300,000 error and for the City of Fulton, the transposed numbers led to an approximated $4 million error. Mrs. Hubbard stated that she has called the State Auditor’s office regarding the errors and is waiting to hear back at this point to see how the State suggests fixing them. Ms. Holschlag informed Mrs. Hubbard that she has been attempting to contact her regarding the errors since July, but has not received any answers from the County Clerk. Mrs. Hubbard then apologized and stated that the TIFs were originally the issue early on during the tax assessment process and was corrected. She also assured the group that she will do whatever she can with the State Auditor’s office to correct the current problems.
Mrs. Hubbard also said that the $9 million new construction discrepancy that the Commission questioned was due to the locally assessed railroad and utility figure that she must add to the County Assessor’s numbers before submitting the figures to the State for approval. Therefore, the $9 million difference between the Assessor’s figures and the County Clerk’s figures is correct. Commissioner Kritzer added that the Commission attempted to discuss this issue with Mrs. Hubbard in August; however, Mrs. Hubbard was unable to attend that meeting. The Commission has been awaiting Mrs. Hubbard’s response since the August meeting. Mrs. Hubbard stated that she thought that the Commission received the answers they were seeking from the County Assessor during the August meeting; she did not know the Commission was still waiting to hear from her.
Mrs. Oestreich then addressed the group. She said that her tax books have been set and printed based on the current tax levies. Also, the tax bills are ready to print and send out. The County Collector’s office has already taken 2016 tax payments. According to Mrs. Oestreich, it would be a nightmare for her office to correct the tax bills at this point. She stated that she wants to wait to correct the errors until next year.
Next, Ms. Salisbury, Mrs. Oestreich, and Mrs. Hubbard explained the tax process to the rest of the group, including what is done at the County level and what is done at the State level. After some discussion, the group decided to wait until the County Clerk hears back from the State Auditor’s office. Mr. Johnson mentioned that the Fulton City Council will be meeting tonight; therefore, he will need to know what the State says as soon as possible. Mrs. Oestreich also mentioned that she’ll need to know what the State says so that she can either move forward with printing tax bills and sending them out or prepare to make changes to the tax bills. In closing, Commissioner Kritzer asked Mrs. Hubbard what changes she plans to make in her office to prevent these mistakes in the future.
The Callaway County Commission met with Leah Laramore, County Human Resources Director; Karen Rentschler, County Auditor; and Sara Schleuter, Deputy Auditor, to discuss payroll issues. Deborah Goldman was also present for this meeting to represent the County Clerk’s office.
Mrs. Laramore first explained the County’s current payroll schedules. The Law Enforcement/Public Safety employees are paid bi-weekly, due to statutory constraints, and all other employees are paid monthly. Mrs. Laramore stated that she wants to streamline payroll by merging the monthly payroll into the bi-weekly payroll. Because of the restrictions that affect the bi-weekly payroll, the only payroll available to change is the monthly payroll.
Next, Mrs. Laramore presented the Commission with a 2017 calendar that showed the proposed merge of the monthly into the bi-weekly payroll. Monthly-paid employees would not see a change until about mid-March. Mrs. Laramore stated that initially, she wanted to begin the merge right away in 2017; however, after looking at different scenarios, she, the Auditor, and the Deputy Auditor believe that mid-March would be the best time for the change. This delay would allow affected employees to get past the holidays and have plenty of time to prepare for the payroll change.
In the past, a vote was taken of monthly employees to get their opinion on changing to biweekly payroll; the measure was voted down and the payroll processes stayed the same. Commissioner Kleindienst mentioned that there will be some employees that will not want payroll to change. After some discussion, it was decided that Mrs. Laramore and Mrs. Rentschler will meet with department heads of the affected employees and tell them about the proposed change. The department heads will be asked to inform their employees and provide their feedback at the next Quarterly Budget Review meeting in November. A decision to either merge the payroll or not will be made after the Quarterly Budget Review meeting when the Commission receives feedback from the various department heads.
County Health Department Report Filed
Now on this day comes Sharon Lynch, County Health Department Administrator, and files a report of fees and grants collected by her department for the month of September, 2016. Also, an amended report of fees and grants collected for the month of August, 2016. Said reports were examined and ordered filed by the Clerk of the Commission.
Ordered that the Commission adjourn until Wednesday, October 26, 2016.