Interim Ellis County Treasurer Josh Wasinger on Monday provided county commissioners with an end-of-term report.
Treasurer-elect Lisa Schlegel will be sworn into office at 8 a.m. today, then immediately assume her duties. Schlegel, a Republican, was elected in November, but treasurers often take office in the fall due to tax cycle timing.
The Ellis County Commission thanked Wasinger for his 25 weeks of service. He was appointed to the position in April by the county’s Democratic party following the resignation of former treasurer Ann Pfeifer.
“I want to thank you because you came in at a very difficult time, and you just were basically dropped in the job,” Commission Chairperson Barbara Wasinger said, calling for a round of applause for Wasinger, who plans to move to the Kansas City area. “And you did it with grace.”
Highlights of the past six months include identifying approximately $44,000 in annual cost savings, in part through the elimination of one staff position through attrition. Other changes include identifying a more efficient way to print and mail tax statements and working to convert many hard documents to electronic storage.
Changes also included revisions to office procedures in efforts to improve workflow and customer service, he said.
Wasinger also briefed commissioners on a recent move to enter a two-year contract for a variable rate money market account, which is expected to significantly increase interest earnings on county assets.
The two-year contract with Equity Bank offers a current 1.25-percent annual return on the account, up from 0.26-percent earnings on previous money market accounts. The difference could amount to nearly $200,000 in additional annual earnings for the county, he said.
Wasinger, who said he worked with Schlegel to gain her insight during the last six months, said his ultimate goal was to “leave the treasury in better shape than he found it.”
“I would just like to take this opportunity … to thank my exceptional staff for being so great to work with,” he said. “It was my goal when I came in was to provide a smooth transition for the treasurer-elect and to leave the Ellis County treasury in better shape than I found it. I believe I was very much able to accomplish that, with being able to work with such a great staff and such a great treasurer-elect.”
In other business, the commission:
• Was offered on-site flu shots from the county health department, which is encouraging residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
• Approved a bid in the amount of $24,950 from Glassman Corp. for a damaged chiller compressor at the county administrative center.
• Conducted two executive sessions, with no action taken, to discuss personnel matters and attorney/client privilege.
• Commissioners discussed a proposal to improve landscaping in the administrative center's back parking lot, and that issue will be revisited.
• Wasinger asked Commissioner Marcy McClelland to think about "ideas and direction" regarding future development in rural Ellis County regarding the use of septic tanks. The county is involved in an ongoing lawsuit over a blocked residential subdivision after McClelland opposed it due to environmental concerns related to septic systems.