County tables ROD funding request

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Leavenworth County commissioners voted Wednesday to table a request from the register of deeds to use money the county will receive as a result of the recent federal stimulus bill.

Commissioners did not set a date for when they will revisit the request from Register of Deeds TerriLois Mashburn. But Commission Chairman Mike Smith said at the time of Wednesday’s vote that commissioners will “see this again.”

Mashburn requested $740,443 from money the county is expected to receive from the federal government as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law last month.

Mashburn said the money would be used to digitize records and purchase equipment.

She said this would help minimize any future impact of COVID-19 on her office.

“My main push for this is to get those records online,” she said.

Mashburn said this would make it possible for people to do most of the records research remotely and reduce exposure to her staff.

Mashburn also proposed purchasing an air purifier as well as computer equipment she said would enable members of her staff to work from home.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said he believes Leavenworth County will receive about $15.4 million as a result of the federal legislation. But he does not know if federal money that will be going to cities within the county is included in the $15.4 million figure.

Smith said the $740,443 request is a large number.

Mashburn said if she could have one thing from her requested funded, it is a $197,000 payment for a company to scan documents.

“That has to be paid for in one lump sum,” she said.

She also requested an additional $67,500 for scanning index books.

Smith said the register of deeds had previously indicated she was raising fees in order to pay for some of the items that were brought before the commissioners Wednesday.

Mashburn said the revenue collected for fees for copies goes into a general fund. She asked that this money be redirected into a technology fund for the Register of Deeds Office.

Commissioner Vicky Kaaz said commissioners could not debate how to spend the federal funding because the money is not yet available to the county.

“The money isn’t in the bank yet,” she said.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson recommended tabling the request from the register of deeds.

The motion was unanimously approved.

Loughry said the redirection of revenue from fees is a matter that should be taken up when commissioners work on next year’s county budget.

In other business

The Leavenworth County Commission:

• Received a report about a 2020 audit.

April Swartz from Varney and Associates, Manhattan, said there was a concern regarding a payroll account. She said there was no issue with the balance once the account was reconciled.

Swartz said the county received a “clean opinion” for its audit.

• Approved a preliminary and final plat for Mitchell Estates, an eight-lot subdivision at 203rd Street and Mitchell Road.

The preliminary and final plat were approved as part of a consent agenda.

The vote came after several members of the public raised concerns about dust from increased traffic on Mitchell Road, which is gravel road.