Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

September 26, 2013

Agan raises concern over phone bill

Supervisor Craig Agan raised concern early on in Tuesday's regular Marion County Board of Supervisors' meeting, in regard to a claim presented by the Public Health Department. Claims are approved as part of the consent agenda, which is acted upon before any other County business.

The claim was for payment of a bill, in the amount of $23,450.65, for a new phone system and approximately seven new computers. Public Health Director Kim Dorn said the equipment was necessary to accommodate Mediacom, the department's new phone service provider, and will save money on monthly bills while increasing Internet speed. She said there will be no Marion County tax dollars used for this purchase.

“Those are all paid for through grants,” Dorn said. She said that if the board did not approve the claim, the grant money would be lost to the County, as it needed to be spent before the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30.

Agan's concern is that the County spent approximately $17,000 on a new phone system for Public Health when it moved into its current location, less than five years ago. Again believes it was “not good planning” on the department's part.

“Will we need to do this again a couple of years from now?” Agan asked. In regard to submitting the claim at the last board meeting before the federal deadline, Agan added, “Your timing is very poor.” He added that he would like to see the “end of year mindset” change.

Dorn said that if the claim was not approved, and Marion County lost the grant money, it would go to another county.

“We may as well spend it to help Marion County,” Dorn said.

Board Chairman Jim Kingery said he would have preferred to hold off on such purchases until the County has a full-time information technology director. The job description for that position is still under review and the position has not been posted. In the end, the claims, with the rest of the consent agenda, were approved by a vote of 2-1, with Agan voting nay.

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Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

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