Editor's Note: This is part 2 of three articles on the Grant County Commission work session held Tuesday, March 11.
By MARY ALICE MURPHY
Following a presentation on using old tires to fuel a cement plant, County Manager Jon Paul Saari gave the financial report. Because of a software update, no report could be printed in February, so the report covers from Jan. 6 through March 13. It included four payrolls, two payments to solid waste, as well as $227,000 for liability insurance and $265,000 for law enforcement insurance.
The total for the more than two months of expenditures was $4,430,601.82
Saari explained that because the county pulled out of the state risk management pool, it had to send three months worth of payments to the state for $133,000. "The county will still see savings with the local insurance because we had figured most employees would take the PPO option, but most took the HMO option, and we were informed by the state that at the beginning of the new fiscal year, its rates would go up 15 percent, so we won't be paying that either. For our current insurance we sent $150,000 to Presbyterian. The Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department bought a brush truck, which they will repay us with their fire funds for $139,000. The North Hurley sewer project is up and running after a payment of $156,000 to tie it into the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. The lagoons are being dried out. It was a loan/grant and the county was the pass through for the funding."
The actual cash balance for the county General Fund, as of Jan. 31, 2014 was $3,421,997. Estimated cash balance as of the end of the fiscal year on June 30, is $2,379,266, minus the required cash reserve of $2,105,342, will leave a surplus of $273,924.
The county has done 2.9 percent of the cash transfers. Most are done toward the end of the fiscal year.
The Road Department had a cash balance at the end of January of $-277,185. After transfers or $414,141 are completed by the end of the fiscal year, the department is projected to have a cash balance of $136,955, minus a cash reserve of $130,935, leaving a surplus of $6,020.
The Corrections Fund at the end of January had a $-1,057,596. After projected transfers of $1,094,497, the projected cash balance at the end of the fiscal year will be $36,901. The department is not required to have a cash reserve.
Commission Chairman Brett Kasten asked if the county has ever checked to see if the state is figuring correctly the liability and multi-line law enforcement premiums.
Saari said the county spends only 40 percent of the premiums it pays in for a low loss ratio. "It would be cheaper for us to self-insure, except for when we get a large $1 million suit. We're lumped in with 28 counties, some of which have greater than 100 percent loss ratios."
In new business, Margaret Begay will give the annual report on the surveillance program.
Commissioners will decide whether to give letters of support to the Mimbres Film LLC to be film liaison. Saari said the Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce had also put in a request to be the film liaison. Commissioner Ron Hall said the commissioners had heard the Mimbres Film LLC presentation. Commissioner Gabriel Ramos said the wording of the agenda item should not change.
The Commission will also consider a intergovernmental transfer of the K9 unit and equipment to Sierra County. Saari said Sierra County would pay Grant County $4,500. "We are paying to board the dog right now, because we don't have an officer trained for use of the dog."
An item will be added to the agenda to consider the Sheriff's Department's annual application to the Law Enforcement Fund for $43,400, with $33,000 for equipment and apparatus, and the rest for training.
Under resolutions, the commissioners will consider approving the 695.43 miles of county-maintained roads. "It does not include the improvement districts we are working on," Saari said.
Another resolution would authorize the execution and delivery of a Colonias Infrastructure Project Fund agreement. "We finally received the agreement for last year's application, which was approved for drainage and road improvements for North Hurley.
A resolution on certifying the maintained road mileage does not need to be on the agenda, according to Road Superintendent Earl Moore. "We can just add a letter to the other resolution," Saari said.
Commissioners will approve a bid to the lowest bidder for the Cliff Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall addition of restrooms. Saari explained that all the bids came in over budget, but Architect Kevin Robinson recommended approving the lowest bidder, and he would negotiate cost savings within the bid to come in at budget.
Kasten asked when the addition would be completed, and Saari said: "Before the fair. It's a short project."
The final article will cover county reports.