Pottawatomie County Treasurer Lisa Wright informed commissioners Monday of a budget error involving two local townships.

Wright says a member of one of the two impacted township boards informed her office that the money being distributed to them from the county was going into the wrong funds.

“We saw that the levies had been flopped and one of them had miscalculated values,” she said.

Wright says Assistant County Administrator Heather Gladbach has reached out to the State of Kansas about a potential fix, but estimates it will likely not get corrected for another two years. That means budget reports will be wrong for the next two years, according to Wright, with levies needing to be adjusted to account for the error.

County Clerk Dawn Henry explains where the miscalculation occurred.

“It had to do with third class cities and the values for the township were put in. When it comes to third class cities, you have to take out the third class portion of it, to calculate that levy. The whole value was put in instead of taking out some of the value, which resulted in the levies situation,” she said.

Both the Rock Creek and Pottawatomie Township Boards were impacted by the error. County officials said Rock Creek township believes it has enough funds on hand to account for the mistake.

In other business Monday, commissioners unanimously approved a motion Monday to make a temporary full-time position within the health department a permanent one.

Health Department Director Leslie Campbell says she has funding available in her budget for the temporary medical clerk, hired in September 2021 to assist at COVID vaccine clinics and outreach.

“We need clerical staff to help us continue our work, to do the important things, otherwise you’re paying nurses and me as the administrator to do what the clerk person could do,” she said.

Commissioners also agreed Monday to up the salaries for its indigent panel of attorneys, bringing them from $5,750 per month to $7,000 per month starting in January, along with a cost of living adjustment annually.

The attorneys had previously been paid $5,000 per month since from 2017 until the end of last year, when the panel renegotiated its salaries to account for inflation.

Pottawatomie County is also starting a new employee recognition program for county workers who provide exceptional public service.

Public Information Officer Becky Ryan told commissioners Monday that winners of the award will be selected quarterly, with the hopes of making it a monthly recognition in the future.

“Department heads and elected officials are not eligible. Anyone can make a nomination. There will be an online form and a paper form,” she said.

Employees earning the quarterly recognition will receive a certificate and a $50 gift card, along with acknowledgement in the employee newsletter as well as a display in the county office building. County Administrator Chad Kinsley says public perception of the county service has been more positive in recent years.

“It’s always harder to get positive comments from the public but I think in the last couple years we get more of those than negative comments, at least in my office, which is a big change,” he said.

The idea was born out of an employee committee, made up of several county employees, including Ryan.