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County attorney asks for pay increase

She’s spending more time on county business than in the past

Managing editor

County Attorney Susan Robson asked the county commission to consider giving her a raise Friday since she has provided additional counseling this past year.

Robson said she was elected to be the county attorney with the primary function of prosecuting cases, but this year in particular, she has worked numerous hours on special assignments from the commission.

She talked with other counties similar in population and tax base to Marion County and was told that some had separate attorneys handling county business such as advising the commission, reviewing contracts, and conducting research. Other counties pay the county attorney an additional salary for the services.

When the commission asked the number of hours Robson worked to prepare a county tax sale, she replied “20.”

“There are county employees who do more than one job and they are compensated,” Robson said.

Some counties pay a county counselor $20,000 to $28,000 per year for those services.

“I’m not asking for that,” Robson said.

She said she would be willing to keep track of her hours and be paid an hourly rate or was willing to accept a monthly pay increase with an annual review.

“Your job is to cover for us,” Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said. He agreed that the commission has asked Robson to review a number of issues.

Working with the fire marshal to resolve county jail issues and providing research regarding the TransCanada Pipeline property tax exemption were two major projects in 2010.

“I probably spent 40 hours this month (on county business) but there will be other months when I spend two hours,” Robson said.

Commissioner Dan Holub asked if she had an amount in mind. She responded $75 per hour, which was less than a typical rate for local attorneys or she would be willing to bill the county.

The commission agreed to make a decision Friday but the meeting adjourned with no decision.

Revitalization plan

The commission reviewed final changes to the county’s neighborhood revitalization plan.

The plan provides county landowners to receive property tax abatements for making improvements to their property.

The benefit period for tax abatements will be shortened from 10 years to five years to eligible property owners.

Another possible change to the plan includes provisions if a natural disaster occurs. The commission can utilize the appraised value of properties from the first of that year, negating the program.

Other proposed changes were requiring applications be filed within 60 days of construction of property that is rehabilitated or added to. The 60-day grace period does not include new builds.

Applicants can only apply for one project per year because the appraiser needs to determine value of new construction before another project can be accepted into the program.

There are six projects waiting to be accepted into the program. Dallke asked appraiser Cindy Magill to provide a list of those applicants at Monday’s commission meeting.

In other business:

  • Keith’s Foods of Goessel was the low bidder to cater the annual county Christmas party at $10 per plate. Three bids were solicited with two entities bidding.
  • Signs designating a Santa Fe Trail Auto Trail Route were approved on the condition Robson approves a contract with the trail group.
  • County sales tax collected in August was nearly $54,000, a $6,000 increase from 2009.
  • A fuel bid of $16,519 from Cardie Oil of Tampa for 6,550 gallons of fuel was approved. Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro submitted a bid of $16,372.
  • A tire-changing machine and tire spreader will be purchased for $3,658 from Car Quest of Hillsboro. Marion Auto Supply bid $3,762 for the same equipment.
  • No action was taken following a 10-minute executive session to discuss acquisition of property.

The next commission meeting is Friday, which will include canvassing the election.

Last modified Nov. 3, 2010

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