On Monday members of the Marshall County Council considered the tabled request of the County Commissioners to appropriate request a majority of the county’s $8.9 million of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Funds.
Last month the council tabled the commissioner’s request to appropriate approximately $6 million. Council members were seeking additional clarification on how the funds would be used. The commissioner’s plan proposed $300,000 in aid to non-profit organizations that are in their budget, $2 million to assist in the creation of a regional sewer district, $1 million for extension of rural broadband, $1 million for the County Highway Department for materials, $1 million in the highway for professional services, $1 million for highway equipment, and $100,000 for administrative expenses.
Last week the Commissioners voted to have the County Council appropriate $1 million for equipment for the Highway Department and $100,000 for the administrative expenses.
County Auditor Julie Fox said the request had been tabled from the May meeting and she thought the council had to take action this month and not leave it on the table because she was unsure how long an item could remain tabled.
The first request was for $300,000 for aid to non-profits and Councilman Tim Harman and Jesse Bohannon said their initial plan was tabled for additional clarification and only the $1 million for the highway equipment and $100,000 for administration were discussed. There was no other action by the commissions on their other requests.
Commissioner Mike Burroughs said, “We presented a plan to you and we expected you to vote up or down on the plan that was given to you by the commissioners and voted on by the commissioners and presented to the council. You decided to table it. We came back that last meeting and reiterated our plan so that Jason Peters could get his highway equipment purchased which he desperately needs as well as the administrative cost to cover that plan of $100,000. The rest of the plan stands as presented.” He went on to say, “You did not have any specific clarification questions.”
Councilman Jon VanVactor said he tabled the request last month to allow the people to get their questions answered before the council vote. Only three citizens showed up at the commissioner’s meeting and spoke although they didn’t ask questions about your plan.
Councilman Bohannon made a motion to approve the million dollars for the county highway and the administrative cost and nothing else and commented, “I think this process is absolute garbage. You guys never legally voted on this and I don’t care what the minutes say and I’d like that recorded for the record.”
As the discussion continued before the roll call vote, Councilman Harman said, “I’m shocked because Mr. Klotz was told that the first vote was not the final vote. Okay, fine. It was presented a month ago to us. It was tabled for you guys to take action on the whole plan. To actually put your final number out there. You did not do that. You took action on two items, the highway and administrative. How can this come before us again when it was reiterated in our meeting that final action was to be taken before they came back again. You did not take final action.”
Commissioner Klotz said, “My understanding was we were dropping the original plan, rescinding it, and at this point in time only doing a million for the highway equipment because we are obligated, you guys gave your approval for the equipment bought and the $100,000 for the professional services because we have bills from February that we have to cover and that was what we were doing.”
Bohannon’s motion to approve the $1 million for the Highway Department and $100,000 for administrative costs passed by a vote of 5-2 with Heath Thornton, Jim Masterson, Tim Harman, Mandy Campbell, and Jesse Bohannon voting in favor, and Jon VanVactor and Steve Harper voting in opposition.