McCOOK, Nebraska -- At the end of 2011, Red Willow County's revolving loan fund had a balance of $273,999.21, five accounts were current on their loan payments and two paid their loans in full.
County commissioners approved the end-of-the-year program income report for the county's revolving loan fund during their weekly meeting Monday morning.
The report indicates that during 2011, apimages paid off a $10,000, five-year loan, and Quality Urgent Care paid off a $70,000, 10-year loan. apimages borrowed the money in 2007; Quality Urgent Care borrowed money for its operation in 2009.
Willow Creek Meats is a month ahead in its monthly payments, and those businesses current on their payments are Pet Pros, McCook Eye Clinic and Kevin and Christine Grooms. Accents Etc. is current per Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules, and Pawnee Aviation is in foreclosure.
Cal Siegfried, of Willow Creek Meats, asked commissioners to release the name of Leigh Hoyt from the loan made by the county to the company, as he (Siegfried) and partner Scott Carlin are in the process of buying Hoyt's share of the business.
Siegfried assured commissioners that there were no major changes planned in the operation of the business, just that he and Scott (Carlin) would be the sole owners and obligors on the county loan. "We are not closing. We are not going away," Siegfried told commissioners.
He said that his company's attorney, (his son) Cody Siegfried, and Red Willow County attorney Paul Wood are working to draft a companion agreement showing the change in the ownership. "The payments stay the same," Siegfried said.
McNutt asked deputy county attorney Phil Lyons if the county needs a new amortization schedule and Lyons suggested tabling any action until he and Wood can look at the master loan agreement. Downer suggested to Cal Siegfried that Cody Siegfried write the companion agreement indicating that Cal Siegfried and Scott Carlin are still obligated to the note, and then consult with Wood.
Commissioners will discuss the item again on Monday, Jan. 23, at 10 a.m.
In May 2008, Willow Creek Meats used a $124,145 county loan to enlarge the capacity of the plant's cooler.
Commissioners tabled, also until Monday, Jan. 23, further discussion of audit concerns regarding a petty cash bank account maintained by the county's Veterans Service Office until Veterans Service Officer Tom Stritt is available to answer questions.
Concerns about the $9,745 balance were brought to light by the county's auditor, Donald D. Wilson, who notes that county board authorization has not been documented, nor is the fund (used for veteran's assistance) included in the VSO budget.
Wilson writes to commissioners, "When funds are not authorized by the county board and not disclosed in the budget message, the county is exposed to an increased risk of loss, theft or misuse of county funds."
Wilson recommend that commissioners authorize the bank account as a petty cash account and that it maintain between $2,500 and $5,000. The difference (up to $9,745) would be remitted to the county treasurer, he wrote.
Budget clerk Shirley Volz told commissioners that the petty cash banking account was established in the early 1950s -- before she was budget clerk -- by VSO Montie Lum, who said at that time that the money was not county money and that neither he nor his board members would ever relinquish it to county officials.
Volz said there has been no record of what money goes in, where it comes from and where it goes. She said the fund has had, at times, more than the current $9,745.
Commissioners and Volz believe the fund should be scaled down or eliminated, but definitely explained.
County clerk Pauletta Gerver said that a letter from Wilson to the county's Fair Board should have been directed first to the Fair Board, whose board members are being asked to explain donations and disbursements not in the budget.
Fair Board members will discuss the issue at their January meeting and report to Wilson.
Wilson indicates in a letter to commissioners that governmental auditing standards require that he allow a review of his concerns and any corrective actions planned by the county. The county's responses will be included within Wilson's final audit report.
McNutt said, during discussion of purchases by county officials, that "there is no need to be secretive," and Dack and Gerver agreed, saying that all county expenditures and financial and budget activities "need to be transparent."
Dack called herself "a watchdog" when it comes to keeping an eye on county funds, county expenditures and budget activities.
Acting as a board of equalization, commissioners approved applications for motor vehicle tax exemptions from Community Hospital of McCook; Good Samaritan Hospital of Kearney, which provides a long-haul ambulance service in McCook; the Southwest Area Training Services; the McCook Humane Society; the Ed Thomas YMCA; and several churches.
All of the requested exemptions are renewals due in January, county treasurer Marleen Garcia told commissioners, and meet stipulations for charitable, religious and education organizations.
Garcia and commissioners also discussed, and commissioners approved, a resolution to advertise delinquent real estate taxes (except those involved in bankruptcies) on Feb. 3, 10 and 17.
In other action:
-- Commissioners approved the appointment of Kallie Nelms to replace Kevin Potthoff on the Red Willow county Extension Board. Her term will expire December 2014.
-- Commissioners cancelled a closed session scheduled at 11 a.m. to discuss the possible purchase of property at 520 Norris Avenue.