If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
“I appreciate us all working together.”
Those were the words of Mount Ayr city administrator Brent Wise near the conclusion of a joint session of the Mount Ayr city council and Ringgold County board of supervisors Thursday, February 4.
On the table was a proposed law enforcement contract first presented at the February 1 council meeting.
Under the proposed four-year contract, Mount Ayr would pay the county $180,000 annually to provide all law enforcement duties and related administration, communications, education, training, employee resources and supervision.
The proposal includes an automatic 4 percent increase for each of the four years.
At the February 1 meeting, councilman Brent Ricker had questioned why Mount Ayr is asked to pay extra for law enforcement while other county towns are not.
(Ricker was absent from Thursday’s meeting.)
In a hand-out distributed at Thursday’s meeting, Ringgold County auditor Amanda Waske explained: “Mount Ayr residents are not double taxed. We [the county] only utilize our general fund for all sheriff-related expenditures. The $180K revenue received from the city effectively cancels $180K of the sheriff’s budget, therefore reducing our tax asking of the residents. We account for the revenue in our budget, which then offsets the expenditure. The City of Mount Ayr accounts solely for the expenditure; therefore, the residents of the city pay tax on that $180,000.”
She included figures showing the math:
Total expenditures $1,222,936
Total revenue from city $180,000
Tax asking of residents $1,042,936
Another question concerned the enforcement of city ordinances.
The proposed contract states the sheriff’s office will provide “a conscientious and good faith effort to effectively enforce the laws of the State and Federal governments.”
Councilman Jordan Stewart asked if language could be added to the contract to include reference to enforcing city ordinances as well.
County attorney Clint Spurrier said he could add the language to include any ordinances that do not carry provisions for jail time for violations.
Mayor Steve Fetty said he believes no current city ordinance includes jail time.
City clerk Amanda Cannon had recommended at the February 1 meeting that language pertaining to the $180,000 flat fee be changed to reflect the amount going to salaries and benefits. She explained without that language, the city would be unable to levy to cover that portion of the contract’s costs.
In the meantime, she and county auditor Waske had worked together to figure those expenditures, and they agreed at Thursday’s meeting the language could changed in the new contract.
On a final note, Mayor Fetty asked if an “escape clause” could be written into the contract to allow the city or county to cancel the agreement prior to the end of four years.
Spurrier recommended including the language that either party could opt out after giving written notice prior to December 31 of any contracted year. This action would provide both parties time to modify their respective budgets prior to a new fiscal year.
The city council will now review and vote to accept or reject the revised proposal at its next meeting, Monday, February 15.
The Mount Ayr city council includes Brad Elliott, Mack Greene, Brent Ricker, Ken Robertson, and Jordan Stewart.
County supervisors include Colby Holmes, Steve Knapp, and Ron Landphair.
Also attending the meeting were Amanda Cannon, Mount Ayr city clerk; Amanda Waske, Ringgold County auditor; Clint Spurrier, Ringgold County attorney; Rob Haley, Ringgold County sheriff; chief deputy Nathan Nickel, and Brent Wise, Mount Ayr city adminstrator.