Ralls County elected officials met in an informal Meet and Greet 5:30 -7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at Perry City Hall.
Presiding Commissioner Bob See opened the session with a general update on the county which operated in the black for the year 2013. The county currently has an operating budget of 2 million dollars. A major renovation of the Court House was undertaken last year. See said that when the voters approved the one-cent sales tax for repair and renovation they stated that they wanted the Court House kept open and in good shape. The outside work has been completed and the workers are now working on repairs inside. The bell tower has had wooden louvers replaced, lead based paint has been scraped away and the whole structure has been repainted. Leaks in the basement and in the roof have been repaired. When completed the whole project will have cost $600,000.
Another major change came when the Sheriff’s Office moved from the Old Jail into the building formerly occupied by the Division of Family Services. The roof had to be replaced when it sustained storm damage earlier in the year. Sheriff Gerry Dinwiddie said citizens were welcome to stop in and see the new facility. See also commended the Sheriff’s Department “on doing an outstanding job in keeping the Marion County and Pike County Jails full.” Dinwiddie referenced the work the Ralls County Historical Society has done and is planning to do with the Old Jail.
See also reported that the county sales tax is up slightly over the last two years and although the use tax has been lower, the county “continues to keep its head above water.”
Tom Ruhl said that assessments have been steadily increasing with a new business now in the old Dura North building that will soon generate more tax money for Ralls County. There was discussion from the floor on the possibility of new businesses in the Enterprise Zone set between the two railroads in Monroe City and near New London. Roads and bridges were also discussed. There are two bridges slated to be built in Ralls County, one in the eastern district and one in the western district. See reported that they spent $355,000 in 2013 on 10,935 tons of gravel for the county’s 450 miles of gravel roads. The commission has budgeted $65,000 for a tractor trailer rig to replace two retiring trucks which will be more efficient and economical to run. There were questions about the Clean Line Energy proposal that would impact Ralls County. Ruhl also reminded residents that the new Plat Books are available for $25.00 in the Assessor’s office. He reported that the new mapping system is being used and as soon as the software is integrated it will be shared with Ralls County 911 and the Ralls County Sheriff’s Office.
All in all the officials present felt the county had had a good year and had accomplished several major goals. The county remains in good financial shape and the general consensus was that “the county has been responsive to the people’s needs.”