In a State of the County report, Barry County Commission Chairman Ben Geiger said the county is "great" thanks to strong leaders, past and present, who worked hard to leave the county better than the way they found it.
He pointed to many successes; the self-sufficiency of the City of Hastings Barry County Airport, the county’s Standard & Poor’s AA rating, its second highest rating, and its talented and dedicated workforce. Conservative budgeting of the annual budget of some $16 million shows good stewardship of taxpayer’s money, he said.
The Barry County Transit expanded its routes and availability without raising fares, he added, and won a national award for its services.
“Barry County collaborates better than anybody,” he said, noting the county collaboration with the Barry County United Way now brings county veterans the best care possible. The commission meets challenges head on, with the board addressing the issues of the aging COA building and the need for a new county jail, Geiger said.
The county is meeting another challenge; the $15.8 million in unfunded liability in its pension plan. They are making extra payments and plan to have it completely funded in 14 years, he said.
Also tuesday, with one full year on the job, Travis Alden, president of the Barry County Economic Development Alliance (BCEDA) and Chamber of Commerce gave commissioners an in-depth report on the BCEDA’s structure, external and internal goals, marketing and promotion, its business expansion, retention and attraction efforts and organizational sustainability and improvement.
In other business, the commission approved:
* the appointment of Jan Otto as attorney magistrate, *spending up to $10,000 to repair the plaster in the Barry County Courthouse,
* an updated agreement with the Barry Economic Development Alliance (and Barry County Chamber of Commerce) to provide economic development services for Barry County for 2017 for $107,395, already included in the general fund budget,
* purchase upgrades for the county servers and e-mail server from Dell, Inc. for $40,693,84.
* spending up to $10,000 on plaster repair in the Barry County Courthouse.