Audrain County elected officials were recognized Friday night by the Audrain County Farm Bureau at its Legislative Appreciation dinner.
Each county official including the newly elected ones spoke to the those attending the dinner. They all said they appreciated the support of the county and their supporters.
Up first was Western District Commissioner Tracy Graham, who just completed his first week as a commissioner. "I am looking forward to serving the citizens of Audrain County,” he said.
The Eastern District Commissioner Alan Winders, has also completed his first week in office. He said Tuesday they had budget meetings. "What better way to figure out how an organization works. There is no sliding into this,"he said. "I am very proud to be the Eastern District Commissioner."
Audrain County Commissioner Steve Hobbs thanked everyone for their support. He gave an update on the bridges in Audrain County stating there are only two major ones to be built. One is the Eastern District and the other is in the Western District. These two bridges are expected to be finished by next summer.
Hobbs also spoke about the jail and the renovations needed. The electronics need to be updated, as well as the security system to make it safer for the jailers who work there. When the jail was built in 1998, it had four levels, one for women, and three for men, a minimum, medium and maximum level. Today there is not enough room for segregation of the women for minimum, medium and maximum levels.
"The good news is we can do it in house and no tax payers money will be used," Hobbs said.
Sheriff Matt Oller another newly elected official also talked about the jail. He said the the jail is in good shape for a 20-year hard worked building. "The building has been well maintained," he said. Twenty-years ago there were approximately 7 to 10 prisoners a day. Oller said Friday there were 70 in the jail.
Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger gave an update on the new Criminal Code. He talked about escalating punishment and how important it is, and how some of the felony and misdemeanor laws have changed. Shellabarger had praise for the commissioners and county officials. "We do a lot of things right here and we work well together," he said.
Recorder of Deeds Janis Deimeke reported everything is going well in her office. She also urged those in attendance to sign up for the property fraud alert which is offered at no cost by her officer. At least 400 have sign up for it already.
Audrain County Assessor Missy Maupin announced the assessment sheets were put into the mail Tuesday and residents can file on line, come in the office or mail back the forms that were sent in the mail.
Audrain County Collector Kate Becker thanked everyone for their support and touched on the recently collected taxes. "We collected $3 million in November and $22 million in December," she said. The collector’s office also has a bilingual speaker in the office now. She said there are a lot of Hispanics who pay taxes and approximately two to five come in a day during tax season and the bilingual speaker helps them (Hispanics) with their questions. She said Audrain County spends its money wisely and is a healthy county. "We are one of few counties fiscally sound and that is because of our commissioners," she said.
Also speaking during the evening were representatives for Rep. Vicky Hartzler and Rep. Sam Graves.
Barb Wilson, president of the Farm Bureau welcomed those in attendance. Jerry Johnson introduced each official who spoke.