COUNTY NEWS: Music center metal detector question; county considering new financial system

Who’s paying for metal detectors at music center?

Resident Tim Clark questioned the Brown County Commissioners at their Sept. 19 meeting about who would ultimately pay the $8,000 it cost to get metal detectors for the Brown County Music Center. “Is that a county expense or are we getting reimbursed for those?” Clark asked.

Commissioner Diana Biddle said the county purchased four total metal detectors because Sheriff Scott Southerland had identified needs for metal detectors at the courthouse, the music center and in the county’s emergency plan. “The sheriff can use them wherever he wants to use them. He is responsible ultimately for the security of that building,” Biddle said.

Clark said that county officials had pledged early on that tax dollars would not be used to cover expenses related to the music center. “I’m holding you accountable, and if you’re going to change that policy, then announce it,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s actually changing policy. The sheriff is charged with the security for that building,” Biddle answered.

On Sept. 23, Southerland said he had been asking to have metal detectors at the music center for months. He said there was no funding from the music center for the metal detectors, so tax dollars had to be used.

“As sheriff, I’m responsible for keeping people safe. I don’t care where the money comes from, I think it’s crucial that venue is kept safe,” he said.

“They can argue whatever they want, but at the end of the day, I’m responsible for keeping them all safe. I am responsible for keeping the venue safe, whether it’s with music venue money or county money.”

County considering switching financial system

The Brown County Council will hear a presentation from Low Associates about switching its financial system at the Oct. 21 meeting.

The price tag on the switch is around $105,000, but Auditor Julia Reeves said it would ultimately save the county money on yearly maintenance. Currently, the county uses Harris for its financial system and pays $26,500.95 a year for maintenance along with extra money for additional licenses. Former Auditor Beth Mulry had purchased three additional licenses for $1,350 because employees kept getting kicked out of the system when too many people were on it, Reeves said.

“With Low, you don’t have that issue. There’s no need for licenses. It’s not required,” she said.

Under the Low contract, yearly maintenance would be $24,000.

Reeves said that neither her office or Harris can find the current contract for their services. The council will look into where the money for the initial contract startup would come from, but Reeves said Low would allow for the county to make three payments toward the $105,000. If a commitment is made before the end of the October, Low will give a $20,000 discount.

The treasurer’s office would also switch to Low. Reeves had a letter from Treasurer Mary Smith stating she was also in agreement with the switch.

The new contract would have to be approved by the commissioners.