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by Patty Cheffey
Facing budget cuts of $8,500, Wendy Howe, public administrator, appealed to the Marion County Commission to reinstate some of those funds.
Howe met with the commissioners during their meeting Monday, at which the commission also approved a ceiling repair proposal and heard updates.
Stating she understood the need for some of the cuts as they were her “what ifs” expenses, such as if she might need to hire a lawyer to assist with a client, she noted her telephone expense and transportation expenses are necessary items.
Concerning her telephone expenditure, Presiding Commissioner David Lomax noted this year’s budget included around $200 more than the actual expenses this part year.
While that is true according to the paper presented to the commissioners, she believed her actual expenses were closer to $2,100 as they were in 2021.
As to the travel expenses, which were cut by $1,000 this year, Howe noted she is required by state statute to see all of her clients at least once a year.
“I have people all over the state,” said Howe of her clients, noting that sometimes that requires an overnight stay. “I have to go see them in person.
“We can do things online and through Zoom and over the phone, but see them and touching them is a lot of the care we give them.”
Noting it is only the start of February and that Howe at this point does not know what her expenses will be this year, Western District Commissioner Steve Begley said he was not willing to change the budget at this time, but the commissioners could amend it later if necessary.
County Clerk Marla Meyers also told Howe her office could provide expenditure guidelines to allow Howe to keep track of her expenses throughout the year.
In other business, the commissioners approved the proposal from David Durst to repair the ceiling in the lawyer’s office at the Palmyra Courthouse at a cost of $2,580.
In addition, they approved his proposal to repair the ceiling in the stairwell at the Palmyra Courthouse at a cost of $3,738.
In her report, Teya Stice, improvement coordinator, noted this Thursday’s planning and zoning meeting could be “controversial,” and asked the commissioners to try to attend.
In addition, during that meeting, she will be presenting the rezoning guidelines discussed at a planning and zoning meeting in January to be reviewed.
Mike Schaefer, county highway supervisor, reported he had heard from MoDOT and bridge inspections were to begin this week.
The commissioners also reviewed the monthly report and the General Revenue and Road and Bridge fund balances.
January’s 2023 fund balance is $4,475,832.81, down from the 2022 report of $5,015,581.08.
However, Meyers noted last year’s January report probably included ARPA funds.