In other business Monday morning, the County Commission:
• Approved a quote from NextTech for $6,250 to improve the computer connectivity between the courthouse, the Sheriff’s Office and Barton County Detention Center. Information Technology Director John Debes said he investigated options. The work will involve reworking the fiber optic connections which have, up until now, not functioned as they were intended.
• Approved another technology-related project not exceed $19,440 to improve internet and other computer traffic between the courthouse and other county buildings. This involves the upgrading of switches and the firewall. Debes said the Information Technology Department will purchase the needed managed switches and NexTech purchase the firewall and install all associated hard and software.
• Approved a request from the City of Claflin to assistance with sand sealing two streets. As an independent contractor, the county would receive a maximum of $6,000 for labor and equipment, Boeckman said. Robert Suelter, Claflin City Attorney, developed a contractual agreement for the work. The county has helped Claflin with such work for several years.
• Boeckman gave an update on the activity of various county departments.
Barton County is in good fiscal shape, accountants for Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball told the County Commission Monday morning. However, the 2012 audit report included a few caveats.
“It went really well this year,” said ABBB’s Amber Littler. “We are issuing a ‘clean’ opinion and that is good.”
The county holds no debt and there were no budget violations. The audit went so smoothly, in fact, it was done faster than usual.
Ending cash balances were lower than they were at the end of 2011, but Littler said that is not surprising due to the Commission decision not to raise the mill levy last year. A .75 mill increase in this year’s budget should help remedy that.
Despite the good news, there were some statute violations noted. Littler said there were several departments that need to do better with making timely deposits, preferably weekly, and tracking receipts.
New county accounting software should help with some of these shortcomings. Also, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said he has already worked with departments that don’t have publicly elected department heads to make some corrections.
But, Littler said the Treasurer’s Office continues to have deficiencies noted year after year that are not resolved. These aren’t serious enough to result in fines or penalties, but they could escalate.
Unfortunately, Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said, the county treasurer is an elected position. As such, the Commission has little say over the department.
Littler said ABBB is in the same situation. The firm can only make recommendations – recommendations that seem to go unheeded.
“We have issues in the Treasurer’s Office,” Boeckman said.
Another concern involved Communications/911 Director Doug Hubbard, who also serves as the Claflin fire chief. Because of the chance the jobs could cross paths, the public could perceive a conflict of interest, Littler said.
She recommended these be two separate positions.
Boeckman has visited with Hubbard and the two will bring the matter to the Commission for discussion in a week or two.