Cherokee County Commission Chairman Pat Collins filed for re-election during a break in the weekly commission meeting Monday at the Cherokee County Courthouse.

Collins paid the one percent annual wage filing fee and officially began his campaign. The primary will be in August with the final election in November. He will run as a Republican for a four year term.

“I am proud of several projects we have finished. I would like to work to see the on-going ones to their completion,” Collins said. I look forward to serving the people of Cherokee County.”

Next week the commission will elect its chairman for the coming year.

“We do that on the second Monday of January,” said Cherokee County Clerk Crystal Gatewood.

Environmental Specialist for Cherokee County Carl Hayes asked for a purchase order to buy a recycling trailer from Dempster Industries in Beatrice, Neb. for $13,831.

Collins made a motion to approve the purchase, Commissioner Jack Garner seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

“The cost will be covered by dumping fees from the landfill,” said Hayes. “We will locate the trailer for a week at a time in Columbus, Riverton and Baxter. Eventually we will add a north location, perhaps in Scammon.”

Hayes hope to begin collection of plastics, paper, cardboard and aluminum at the end of January or first of February. They will not be collecting glass.

KSN TV Channel 16 came to meet with the commission about their ability to stay under-budget for the 2009 year. In an on-camera interview with Commissioner Richard Hilderbrand, Jeremiah Cook asked him how the county was able to do that.

“It was thanks to the hard work and vigilance of our department heads,” said Hilderbrand. “We were under budget 15.83 percent. That’s a savings of $721,000.”

Hilderbrand went on to praise the Sheriff’s Department for being under-budget for the first time in years.

“They were under by four percent,” Hilderbrand said. “That amounts to a savings of over $40,000.”

Hilderbrand said the savings will be used next year.

“It will go towards the 2011 budget,” said Hilderbrand. “Ultimately it will result in fewer taxes that have to be assessed for that year – keeping those dollars in the taxpayer’s pocket.”

County Road and Bridge Department Supervisor Leonard Vanatta and Assistant Supervisor Gene Langerot reported their department was working hard to clear the county roads from the latest snowfall.

“We are between 20 and 25 percent done,” said Vanatta. “Most roads are still passable from the previous snowstorm.”

Collins asked about the cinder supply.

“It’s about two thirds gone,” Vanatta said. “We can handle snow and ice with what’s left for a while without buying more.”

Vanatta and Langerot asked the county to allow them to let bids for new cinder trucks and include snowblades and snowplows in the proposals.

“I think the bids with the snowplow package would be cheaper than bidding them separately,” said Garner. “And those old GMCs are pretty well worn.”

Agreeing with that was Vanatta.

“They were old state trucks,” he said. “They were worn out when we got them.”

During the monthly department heads portion of the meeting, each supervisor or elected official reported on current business from their department. Jason Allison from Cherokee County EMS brought in the latest long-term weather forecast and a winter preparedness guide.

“We are looking at more snow this week and below zero temperatures,” he said. “Next week we have a good possibility of another snow as well.”

Betha Elliott from the County Health Department reported her office had plenty of H1N1 vaccinations available free to anyone who wants them.

“We will be finishing up the schools with their second dose over the next few weeks,” she said. “School age children nine and under require two vaccinations.”

Several department heads asked about providing a vaccination crew at the courthouse to provide shots to county employees wanting to be vaccinated.

“We can do that,” said Elliott. “I will look at the calendar and come up with a day.”

Gatewood reported the online voter registration was going well.

“We have a 40 percent increase in registrations for our coming elections this year,” she said.

Register of Deeds Christy Grant reported that her office was handling many mortgages and that real estate was selling well in Galena.

Sheriff David Groves reported that his department handled 1341 arrests and accidents for the calendar year.

“We also made it through the New Year’s weekend with only five vehicle accidents,” he said. “None of them had injuries.”

Appraiser Nancy Herrenbruck reported that her department was nearing completion of all 2010 housing values.

The county commission will meet again on Jan. 11 at the courthouse.