Burn ban remains in place for county; GIS requirements for salary match discussed

PLYMOUTH — For years Marshall County has taken advantage of a state program that allows the county to receive a 50 percent match for Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery’s salary.
As long as the county met a certain point total on the state’s preparedness guidelines and Avery has continued to meet the standards set for his profession by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — which the county and Avery have exceeded — then the state would pay half of Avery’s salary.
Avery came before the Commissioners Monday with a new agreement the state has pursued for the match with new demands. Along with the other requirements for the match the state has added the requirement of Marshall County sharing their complete GIS information with the state agency.
While most counties in the state had received the new requirements before, Avery said that officials admitted that Marshall County had been “overlooked” by the state when notices were sent out and those in the state agency he was dealing with had stated that the county needed to “expedite” the information if they wanted to receive reimbursement of his salary by the end of the fiscal year June 30.
The sticking point for county officials is that a fifty percent match for Avery’s salary is around $19,000. The county paid more than $350,000 for the GIS information the state is requiring.
Commissioner Jack Roose stated that he was “…not inclined…” to pass off information to the state that county tax payers had purchased for $350,000 for the $19,000 salary match. Avery stated he had discussed the matter with County IT Director Mike Marshall and that he was “…not particularly enthused…” by the prospect either.
Avery said that officials had told him that even if the information was not expedited the state would likely receive the match around August. The Commissioners decided to hold a decision on the matter, to allow President of the Commissioners Kevin Overmyer to be present for a discussion. Overmyer was not present at Monday’s session.
• A burn ban remains in place for Marshall County due to dry conditions and the Commissioners discussed the upcoming July 4 holiday and fireworks with Avery. State statute restricts any municipality or county from banning fireworks during the holiday season but given dry conditions the possibility of fire hazards was discussed.
The Commissioners will extend the burn ban for another week and then look again at the situation as the July 4 holiday approaches.