Letter to the Editor

County government expense?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I would have to admit that I donít usually read the ďlegalsĒ section in the newspaper, but an item recently(7/8/19) caught my attention. The listing was for the salaries of the Clay County employees. I found the total paid from July, 2018 through June 2019 to be $5,426,668.47. Iím not in a position to consider that any of the employees are overpaid, but the total does seem a little alarming. I then contacted SIRI on my phone and found the population of Clay County as of 2015 to be 16,507. This calculates out to $328.75 per resident of our county. Also, be aware that this doesnít cover any facility or operating costs which I would assume to at least double the cost per resident. As much as we would like to think that we are a growing community I just canít see anything in the future that will cause a population boom. We can anticipate the farms to continue to enlarge and manufacturing and technology will probably not come to small towns in the mid-west. As a result, our cost per resident will continue to increase.

It has been discussed before, but is it time to seriously consider that county government may have become obsolete in Iowa. It seems that in recent years we have almost had a competition in our counties to build new facilities. We have a new jail, Dickinson Co. a new court house, etc, etc. It could be that we should be considering combining with other counties to provide some of our services. When I go into the county offices to conduct business I see lots and lots of employees. Is this really necessary? In this day of efficient computers, maybe it is time to think more in terms of district treasurer offices, regional jails, social programs, etc. I know that some of the positions are handled regionally which I give them credit for. It would mean a little inconvenience for our residents, but when the original counties were set up it was so that we could get to town and back in our horse and buggy in one day. How far can we drive in our automobiles in one day? Maybe we should move to the present and think about the future.

Just food for thought.

Bob Swan, Dickens