Grundy County Commission hears wage issues, approves purchase of 911 recorder

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The Grundy County Commission approved a road bond resolution for Harrison Township during its meeting on Tuesday. In other matters, the commission approved a significant purchase and held discussions with an employee of the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department.

A representative from the bond counsel firm, Gilmore and Bell, presented the paperwork for the Harrison Township road bond issue, which was approved by voters in April with a vote of 28 to 18. The bond issue amounts to $131,000 and is designated as a general obligation bond for Harrison Township.

The commission approved the purchase of a 911 recorder along with its installation and associated technical services. The recording device will be purchased from Nelson Systems for $28,943, and Central Square was approved to provide technical services for $7,605. County Clerk Courtney Campbell reported that a current grant should cover these expenses, resulting in no additional cost to the county.

Detention Officer Cody Reeder provided the commissioners with a letter outlining his concerns and suggestions regarding the Law Enforcement Center. Campbell’s minutes quote Reeder as stating that wages are a significant issue and that higher starting wages could attract better-quality applicants. Reeder noted that the starting wage is currently $13.50 per hour.

Presiding Commissioner Phil Ray responded that two years ago, it was decided to allow elected officials to set the wages of their employees. He emphasized that Sheriff Rodney Herring has the authority to set wages for employees in his office.

The commissioners noted that grants could be sought to supplement the budget and wages, but it is up to the sheriff to apply for them. Reeder was encouraged to discuss the situation with Sheriff Herring. Additionally, Reeder requested that Detention Administrator Gary Reed be included in discussions when preparing the next year’s county budget.

Treasurer Barb Harris informed Commissioner Mary Waldrep that she had completed the paperwork to receive surplus amounts from two tax sale properties, totaling nearly $1,200 ($1,193.56). The treasurer will submit a request for a check to be issued to Waldrep.

Ambulance Director Matt Walker provided an update on air conditioning issues, reporting that the next two ambulances ordered will have separate units for the back. When asked if it was possible to retrofit the current vehicles, Walker said he would consult with the seller, Pinnacle, to determine the cost and compare it to maintenance expenses.

Ray also requested Walker to contact the Grundy County Health Department to obtain pamphlets on opioids and provide them during ambulance calls if needed.

Walker presented a spreadsheet indicating that as of the second quarter, the overall ambulance budget is 40 percent spent compared to the budgeted amount.

In addition to Ray, Commissioners Brad Chumbley and Don Sager attended the meeting.

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