Tri States Public Radio Staff
Chair Pleased With Results
Thu July 5, 2012
Lee County Reorganization Savings
The Lee County Board of Supervisors is touting the benefits of a controversial decision.
There are plenty of residents, especially in Keokuk, who oppose the board’s decision to reorganize four county departments one year ago.
The offices of the Auditor and Treasurer are now located in Fort Madison while the Assessor and Recorder are in Keokuk.
The opposition is primarily linked to the lack of a drivers’ license facility in Keokuk.
The supervisors say the reorganization is paying off for the county.
Figures provided by the county show the four offices spent about $430,000 less than they budgeted during the recently-completed fiscal year.
Chairperson Janet Fife-LaFrenz says that shows the supervisors made the right decision as the original estimates were about $350,000.
The current budgets for the four departments are also a combined $100,000 less than they were during the previous fiscal year.
Those savings led the supervisors to take action to improve efficiency in their own department.
The supervisors will no longer oversee some key county services.
The board has voted to transfer E-911 operations to the Sheriff’s office and Safety Planning to the Secondary Roads Department.
The supervisors also want the maintenance department in charge of ADA compliance and the county’s benefit clerk to handle duties related to Title VI.
Fife-LaFrenz says taking these duties away from the board’s oversight will improve efficiency and save money.
She says some details of the transfers must still be worked out with the department heads, who are willing to do what is needed to help the county.
There has been a single employee handling those duties.
Fife-LaFrenz says the board’s unanimous decision to give up oversight means the position of Assistant Board Secretary will be eliminated.
She says B.J. Stephens, who was at this week’s meeting, was not told in advance that their job would be cut.
The transferring of duties takes effect immediately. The supervisors are scheduled to officially eliminate Stephens’ position during a special meeting on Friday.