Commission discusses business licenses, mental health contract
A question that has been plaguing county administrators for the last couple of years is defining how a business license works for those who want to put on a one time event in the county.
In the past, a one-year county business license normally cost about $400. But in the case of one time or special company events at places like the fairgrounds, county officials have determined that organizers are paying the full price for the business licenses.
"I have struggled with how to do this," said clerk Robert Pero. "Generally, these licenses are about $100 each. But when someone does a number of events at the fairgrounds, should we charge them $100 each time? Some of these promoters would be paying much more for a few events than they would for a single regular business license that lasts all year."
The commission has heard a number of times from promoters who were concerned about the situation.
"I am thinking maybe we should charge them $100 for the first event and then some type of nominal fee for each event after that in a year," suggested Pero.
The commission discussed the situation and talked about equalizing the problem by doing what Pero suggested.
"Here's what I am thinking," said Commissioner Mike Milovich. "What if we charged these one time events $100 for their business licenses and then if they came back to do more events that same year, it would cost them an extra $10 for each event."
Commissioners seemed to agree with the idea and it was moved that county attorney Gene Strate draft a change in Ordinance 281 to that effect.
The change will be acted upon during a future commission meeting.
The commission also heard from Bob Greenburg of the southeastern mental health agency regarding changes to the contract the county has with the state to provide the related services.
"It seems you are in here every month with some type of change on these contracts," stated Milovich. "That paperwork on this is driving everyone crazy."
Commissioner Steve Burge indicated he recently went to a state mental health administration meeting. He said the "state wants us to do more oversight" of the programs.
"I have been the unofficial representative to the board from the county," added Burge.
Greenburg suggested that the county appoint an official liaison to the board. But since the item was not on the agenda, the commissioners agreed to make the move at a future meeting.
Introducing an unrelated matter, the commissioners discussed several changes in sick leave policy for county employees. The county has had a donation plan allowing co-workers to contribute leave time to employees with a long-term illnesses. But there apparently have been several instances when the system was abused.
In fixing some loopholes that led to the abuse, county administrators found other things that are in need of correction.
"One of the things I would like to see is to have only enough sick leave donated to someone to get them to the short-term disability coverage they are enrolled in," Milovich told Dennis Dooley who was attending the meeting as county personnel director.
In the event employees get into the short-term disability insurance they purchase and still have sick leave, they get both.
"The plans run concurrently," Dooley explained.
Nevertheless, Milovich maintained that the county should only "put in enough donated time to get them up to short-term coverage."
Other discussion centered on the maximum amount an employee can donate (40 hours) to another employee, that the donation should be irrevocable and that one employee cannot donate time to another unless he or she is ill.
The commission also opened bids for one million feet of paint striping for the county road department. The bids came from Interstate Barricades for $33,000, Finish Line Striping for $40,000 and from Mountain West Striping for $30,000. The commissioners approved the lowest bid as the acceptable one.
In another action the commission set the date for the county's budget hearing as Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. They also approved the tax rates for next year at .002443 for the counties general fund and .000182 for the municipal services fund.
"These rates that the commission has approved are on the low end of the scale for all the counties in the state's rates," stated Pero.
The commission has also decided to change the time of their meetings beginning Nov. 1.
The original change was proposed by some county administrators who felt that holding the commission meetings during the day would serve the county better and would be more cost effective because county employees who needed to attend could do it during business hours.
"Only two counties in the state hold their meetings in the evening, Cache and Carbon," explained Strate.
But Milovich took issue with holding meetings during the day time.
"I don't think it is right if these meetings are not held at night," he stated. "The public should be able to attend and many people can't get off work to come. It is even more important when it comes to public hearings. I just don't think it would be fair to them."
Milovich said that years ago the meeting took place during the day, but early in his commission career it was changed for that very reason.
There was also some discussion about changing the day of the meetings from Wednesday to either Tuesday or Thursday, but no one could agree on that move.
In the end the commission decided however, to move the time of the meetings back an hour and a half and begin them at 4:30 p.m. on their standard meeting days.
However, to accommodate public input, commissioners recommended to Pero that the agenda be structured so that things county employees are involved in and non-public hearing items be listed at the start of the agenda, and that public hearings be put toward the end. That way people can attend public hearings after they get off work in the afternoon.