The Fayette County Board voted unanimously to have a Bloomington firm continue to provide administrative services for the county.
Board members discussed only briefly renewing the contract with Bellwether LLC during the finance committee meeting held prior to Tuesday’s regular board meeting.
Under that one-year renewal, Bellwether, which has provided administrative services to the county since July 2017, will continue to receive $84,000.
Bellwether agrees under the contract to:
• Conduct ongoing financial analysis with actions toward continued expense reduction.
• Support the county board in addressing issues in the normal course of providing local governance to Fayette County.
• Develop the County Budget with a goal of final approval prior to Dec. 1, 2020.
• Facilitate department leadership coordination and planning.
• Serve as a resource for department leadership on employment issues.
• Review and provide guidance on contracts, bidding and renewal.
• Review and propose improvements to the Fayette County property tax process.
• Review/develop a county risk management plan and review insurance costs.
• Serve as a resource to elected officials.
• Attend the county board meetings as a seated, non-voting representative.
• Facilitate inter-departmental efforts.
• Respond to department heads and county board member questions via meetings, phone calls and email.
• Other services as mutually agreed between client and Bellwether.
“To me, I know there are services they have provided to the county for three years that have been vital,” board member Jake Harris said during the committee meeting.
Board member Bryce Kistler also supported the contract renewal, saying that other counties and many municipalities have someone providing the services that Bellwether gives to the county.
Board Chairman Jeff Beckman also endorsed the contract renewal.
“As a chairperson, we talk several times a week now and I always get an answer. I always know what direction I’m going in and they never steer me wrong
“And, and when it comes to this budget, they know things that others don’t, they dig into it for many counties and they know what’s going on.
“It’s more than a full-time job,” he said.
“And frankly I don’t care what the other party thinks,” Beckman said, “if they think they can save money, let them have it.”
After the meeting, in response from some who say the county should not be paying $84,000 for those services, Beckman said, “They bring in, through savings, enough to pay their own salary.
“Just like tonight, what department head or what board members is going to see about getting $600,000 from the state for COVID (expenses).
“It’s a sea of paperwork, everything is,” Beckman said.
“And normal operations have gotten so convoluted. It’s not simple like it used to be,” he said.
“Any statutes, any ordinances, any resolutions, they know how to properly prepare that stuff and run it by the state’s attorney and then go with it,” Beckman said.
“The services they have provided us in the past three years have gotten through some difficult issues and difficult times,” he said.