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Commissioners discuss approval of potential deputy hires, approve general budget

Monday’s county commission meeting was a busy one, beginning with a discursive work session that led into a regular meeting in which several important items were passed.

Much discussion in the work session centered around a proposal by Sheriff Mickey Powell to hire two new deputies.

Other matters included the renewal of a soon-to-expire ACCA license for worker’s comp and funding for the county landfill.

Commissioners, after discussion of the qualifications of the potential deputy hires, approved one hire and tabled the second pending further verification.

Commissioners expressed concern at staff shortages in the Sheriff’s Office following Powell’s defeat in the June primary, with commission chairman Charlie Sankey, Jr. saying “the citizens of this county need coverage.”

“[Sheriff Powell] told me he’d swear me in…,” Sankey joked, continuing that it is difficult to find candidates willing to “work with a company that will go out of business in three months.”

After approving the meeting’s agenda and previous meetings’ minutes, the commissioners approved the ACCA worker’s comp. agreement for 3 more years.

Next, a motion to approve the county engineer’s department was entertained and passed, having been thoroughly discussed particularly in the previous meeting.

Discussion surrounding the landfill was tabled pending discussion with the cities of Luverne and Rutledge.

Next on the agenda was the general budget.

Commissioner Merrill Sport questioned the development of several items that were// contentious in previous meetings, including the funding of Animal Tails and 4H.

(For clarity, the commission previously decided on giving a flat rate to Animal Tails ($12,000 annually; $1,000 a month)).

The motion to approve the budget was at first withdrawn by Commissioner Ricky McElwain to give Sport more time to review, but after discussion the budget was passed.

All these items were passed to the exclusion of District 2 commissioner Michelle Stephens, who was not present.

Concerning the request by Kenny McGough at the previous meeting, commissioners next discussed the possibility of utilizing county courthouse custodial staff at other county-controlled buildings.

This suggestion was not acted on at this time.

The final item discussed, the holiday schedule, was tabled pending Sport’s suggestion to exchange Columbus Day for December 26 to give a lengthier Christmas to county employees.

The next county commission meeting will be on September 24 at 6:00 p.m.