The treasurer is reluctant to transfer funds; commissioners can seek court order – Sterling Journal-Advocate

Logan County Treasurer Patty Bartlett clashed with the Board of Commissioners over the transfer of funds from the Justice Center Building Fund to the county’s Capital Improvement Fund.

Bartlett asked the commissioners to pay an outside attorney to advise her because she disagrees with advice from County Attorney Alan Samber. The commissioners reviewed Bartlett’s January 27 letter during their shop meeting on Tuesday morning and quickly decided they would not pay for outside counsel. Their position is that Samber’s job is to advise all county officials, and that’s the only advice she needs.

The problem is transferring $850,000 from a half-cent-on-the-dollar sale and using tax voters approved in 2000 to pay off bonds used to build the Justice Center. The bonds were originally due to be repaid in 2025, but the building fund has accumulated enough money to prepay the debt. In anticipation of this, voters approved a ballot by the commissioners to keep the sales tax after the Justice Center refund so the funds could be used to maintain and upgrade other county-owned properties. The bonds were repaid at the end of 2021, and on January 18, 2022, the commissioners passed a resolution directing that the funds be transferred from the Justice Center construction fund to the capital improvement fund.

Bartlett refused to do so, saying the payment was not made through her office, leaving her with questions about when she can legally transfer the funds into the capital improvement fund. . She said she needed outside advice because, if there is disagreement between elected officials, Samber represents the commissioners, not her.

When asked if she consulted Samber on the matter, Bartlett said yes, but she disagrees with her lawyer.

During the workshop, the commissioners said they wanted to meet personally with the treasurer to discuss the matter. Failing that, chairman Byron Pelton said, the commissioners would give Bartlett until the end of February to transfer the funds. If she still refuses, Samber said, the commissioners could seek a court order to force the transfer.

The commissioners also managed a to-do list during their business meeting:

  • Opening of Transwest bids for a tandem axle heavy duty diesel truck tractor chassis to be continued with a dump trailer and for a heavy duty dump truck. These offers will go to Roads and Bridges Supervisor Jeff Reeves for his recommendation.
  • Granting of a one-year extension to the Knights Home of Sterling to operate the beer garden at the Logan County Fair. The Knights originally signed a five-year contract with the county to cover the years 2019 through 2023, but the beer garden was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Approved a five-year agreement with Kay’s Life of the Party LLC to set up four trade tents at the Logan County Fair, beginning with the 2022 fair;
  • Approved an agreement with Rocky Mountain Derby Promotions to host the annual Logan County Fairground Demolition Derby;
  • Approved an agreement with Diller Mechanical Services to maintain the HVAC systems at the Logan County Courthouse and Central Services Building;
  • Approval of a right-of-way permit for Highline Electric to dig under County Road 32, near its intersection with County Road 95, to replace a conduit for power lines;
  • Approved resolutions placing moratoriums on wind and solar power projects until new regulations governing these technologies are passed by the county.

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