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The Linn County Commissioners met on Monday, Feb. 6, in regular session and began their meeting with the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting.

County Clerk David Lamb then presented claims and commissioner Jim Johnson questioned two of the items listed on the claims sparking what would become a long and, at times, heated discussion among the commissioners. (See related article in this edition.)

During the discussion Missy Lancaster, Director of the Linn County Health Department gave her weekly report on numbers for the department and upcoming classes and seminars she and her staff will be attending and/or holding.

Linn County Rural Fire Chief Randy Hegwald then spoke to commissioners reporting on the incidents they worked over the last week and noted some changes he would like to see to the county burn ban policy in the future. (See related article in this edition.)

Commissioners then approved claims in the amount of $145,747.84 on a 3-0 vote.

Lamb distributed copies of the weekly sheriff’s report and the sheriff’s fee report and commissioners voted 3-0 to accept the fee report as presented.

Sheriff Kevin Friend took the podium to give the weekly report to commissioners and requested that the electrical utilities at the former jail be put on another fund as his funds are currently responsible for all utilities at the Justice Center for all departments housed there and he no longer has any equipment or items in the former jail, but IT does.

Friend also asked permission to donate anything not taken from the former jail by other departments to the STARS program at USD 344. Commissioners granted approval to surplus anything left.

Friend stated that income from one of the inmate contracts is $71,321 and February billing is currently at $67,368.

Friend reported he had recently had some issues with the court as his department was court ordered to transport an inmate to a private addiction treatment center and then transport the inmate back with the inmate “remaining in the custody of the Sheriff while there.” Friend said he challenged the order by objecting to all three legal entities involved but ended up having to hire an attorney due to the cost of transport and the legal issues with the inmate remaining in custody while at treatment. Friend stated the attorney was able to get the order overturned and a new order in place that furloughed the inmate so he could go to the facility.

Commissioner Hightower then asked Friend if it is within his budget to increase his staff and Friend stated it was not as he had tried to budget for an increase and it was declined. Commissioner Johnson noted Friend’s budget had doubled in the last two years and Friend responded that he is also covering all utilities for every department in the justice center at this point.

A short discussion followed and Hightower stated the county should be looking at the cost of ramping up on employees compared to the income.

Discussion then turned to the generator maintenance packages with the commissioners opting in on the Clipper package with the Justice Center.

Commissioners approved a zoning change for 6326 Irwin Road from A -agriculture to AR - ag/residential.

Commissioners entered into a 30-minutes executive session with 10 minutes for legal matters with West, 10 for personnel with Hegwald and 10 for legal with County Counselor Gary Thompson.

Upon resuming the regular session, West reported he is working on a policy for golf carts and side-by-sides for the Lake and Marina and Noxious Weeds has spoken with the Sheriff about switching over to them for bug spraying.

Discussion then turned to airport with Thompson explaining how the airport came to be county property within the Pleasanton city limits. Following the discussion, it was decided the county would try to find a developer to take over the development of the airport in return for a portion of the lots. 


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