Auditor’s report 9/16 – 9/24/2016

September 24, 2016

Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

9/16/2016 – Attended to family member pre- and post-surgery.

9/18/2016 – Traveled to Las Vegas to meet with various managers/executives of Thomson Reuters, a County vendor/supplier.

9/19/2016

  • Responded to an inquiry from a Gazette reporter asking if we needed more election workers. My answer: Unless we see an increase in the number of absentee ballot requests received by 10/14, we will be adding more election workers to maintain order & efficiency in the polling places.
  • Attended Thomson Reuter’s Synergy 2016 conference.

9/20/2016

  • Met with Mat Greener and Andrew Berg of Thomson Reuters re the County’s Aumentum property tax software system. Voiced complaints about system and discussed solutions, e.g., TR’s Managed Services product may reduce need for County IT support and eliminate some variables plaguing us now. Updated Supervisors John Harris and Jim Houser on outcome of meeting.
  • Reviewed absentee ballot request data emailed to dave.franzman@kcrg.com indicating our ABRs are substantially less than the number of ABRs received at the same time in 2012.
  • Received letter from the Attorney Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Iowa indicating it advised Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson to “note that he is an ‘inactive’ attorney on any published materials or websites over which he has editorial control”.

9/21/2016

  • Met with two employees of Washington County, Minnesota, to ask about TR’s Managed Services product. Both were very satisfied. Washington County has about the same number of parcels and population as Linn County.
  • Fulfilled public records request by Marion resident who wanted to confirm the salary & benefits for members of the Board of Supervisors.
  • Received update from legislator who requested an opinion from the Iowa Attorney General on my behalf.

9/22/2016

  • Signed abstract of votes for the recent special elections held on September 13th for the Mount Vernon Community School District and the City of Central City.
  • Satisfied Mr. James Broten regarding his public records request for information on the taxes paid by the Union Pacific and former CNW railroads within Linn County
  • Visited Pints & Politics event at the CSPS Hall. Another very well attended event.
  • Reviewed report by our Elections Military and Overseas Coordinator indicating 207 UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) ballots will be emailed or mailed on 9/23.

9/23/2016

  • Voter Outreach Coordinator held voter registration signup at Coe College. Over 100 students either registered or updated their VRs.
  • Attended Board of Supervisors meeting held for the purpose of preparing for the pending #Flood2016. Advised the BOS that the Auditor’s Office would be open for business in the Lobby of the Community Services Building at 8am on Monday, September 26th, and each day thereafter until further notice. We will be open for early voting on 9/29 at the CSB, if needed. Thanked Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert for loaning a truck to assist with relocating our office to the CSB!
  • Briefly conversed with IT Director on TR’s Managed Services product, as well as, TR’s hosting solution. We agreed to meet post-Flood to discuss topic.
  • Issued Auditor’s Office Flood Plan v1 and v1 update to employees detailing the location and work assignments for the office. Since the I380 Bridge is now (at 15:29 on 9/24) the only way to cross the Cedar River, I established a rally point in a local hotel for employees on the NE side of the river to continue office operations. If necessary, the location of this rally point will be published to provide emergency/urgent Auditor services to the public if they cannot travel to the CSB.
  • Thanked Jones County Auditor Janine Sulzner for offering to help us with election preparations due to the #Flood 2016.
  • Thanked Taylor Boyt of KGAN / KFXA for offering to lend us a hand!
  • Confirmed deputies had cell phone numbers for each employee.
  • Spoke to James Lynch of The Gazette to confirm Auditor’s Office will be open on 9/29 at the CSB to accommodate the first day of early/absentee voting.
  • Thanked Mitchell County Auditor Lowell Tesch for offering to help us due to the #Flood 2016!
  • Inspected space allocated to for the temporary Auditor’s Office in the Community Services Building.

9/24/2016

  • Attended Board of Supervisors meeting held for the purpose of preparing for the pending #Flood2016. Auditor’s Office and Treasurer’s Office will be open for business in the Lobby of the CSB at 8am on 9/26.
  • Alerted staff that Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate may arrive at the CSB on Thursday, the first day of early voting, to vote.
  • Confirmed with Facilities Manager that the Election Depot will not be inundated with backed up sewage because the floor of the building is 4’ higher than the expected crest of the #Flood2016.

Auditor’s report 9/8 – 9/15/2016

September 16, 2016

Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

9/8/2016

  • Talked to resident of the Mount Vernon Community School District regarding his opinion that campaign signs were placed on public property along Mount Vernon Road. Forwarded complaint to the County Engineer and a IDOT highway supervisor. On 9/9, County Engineer indicated yard signs complied with the law.
  • Spoke to County resident for about 30 minutes pertaining to NOT receiving his tax bill on August 1st when it’s due on September 1st.
  • Per an email request, provided IowaLive9@q.com with Election Results for the years 2000-2016 via a link at http://www.linncounty.org/628/Election-Results-2000-2016

9/9/2016 – 8pm – Observed PEOs administering a satellite voting place for an upcoming special election for the Mount Vernon Community School District.

9/10/2016 – Reviewed complaint from maasaj@netzero.net related to tax bills coming out late.  S/he stated, “Bills due Sept 1 should be received by August 1”.

9/11/2016 – Attended part of Toddville American Legion’s 911 Ceremony and brunch.

9/12/2016

  • Reviewed emails from the Iowa Office of Ombudsman pertaining to the appointment of a person to fill a vacancy on the Prairieburg city council. Result: City council rescinded previous appointment and started the appointment process over.
  • Asked County Attorney’s Office for an opinion on whether I needed to swear in challenged registrants or witnesses at voter registration challenge hearings. As of 9/15, no reply.
  • 1pm – Conducted voter registration challenge hearing on Ms. Rebecca Ann Feldt. Result: challenge rejected due to fact Ms. Feldt born in the USA. Clerk of Court’s official jury summons questionnaire indicated Feldt was not a US citizen.
  • 6:30pm – Participated in poll watcher training session hosted by the Secretary of the Linn County Republican Central Committee at KTOS.

9/13/2016

  • Attended Downtown Open Coffee Meetup at the Early Bird Coffee Shop in Cedar Rapids. Asked attendees to text the keyword ELECTIONS to 21000 on their cell phones in order to receive news and updates on elections being held in Linn County.
  • 1pm – Visited Mount Vernon City Hall polling place to observe precinct election officials (PEO) conducting a special election on a $19M bond issue for the Mount Vernon Community School District.
  • 8pm – Visited Falcon Center polling place to observe PEOs conducting a special election to fill two vacancies on the Central City city council.

9/14/2016

  • Reviewed emails pertaining to opinion by RSM LLP related to the tax liability of life insurance offered by the County to County employees.
  • Reviewed email from a local US Marine Corps veteran related to a US flag NOT being flown at half-mast at the County Courthouse on 9/11/2016.
  • Election Services received compliment from School Board Secretary/Treasurer & SBO of the Mount Vernon Community School District indicating our team was professional and worked well together on their election.
  • Deputy Auditor Stacey Law create FY2017 Military Exemption claim for Treasurer to file with the Iowa Department of Management.

9/15/2016

  • Reviewed emails pertaining to a recent annexation by the City of Marion which will affect the ballots given to the voters residing in the newly (9/12/2016) annexed area.
  • Reviewed emails pertaining to locking down ownership details in real estate records in Aumentum so that other offices/departments cannot knowingly or unknowingly make changes.
  • Prepared for upcoming face-to-face meeting with executives of Thomson Reuters pertaining to Aumentum – the County’s tax and real estate software records system.
  • Forwarded sample ballots to a CBS2 reporter to be used in an upcoming story related to the General Election.

Auditor’s report 8/23 – 9/7/2016

September 7, 2016

Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

8/23/2016 – Spoke during public comment period at Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting regarding Cedar Lake NOT being on Linn County Conservation’s list of projects for the $40M bond issue.  Reiterated my request that BOS included percentages in bond issue ballot language.

8/24/2016

  • Interviewed by Forrest Saunders of KCRG regarding the upcoming general election and my forecast for 78% voter turnout.
  • Interviewed by James Lynch of The Gazette regarding concerns about voting machines and systems being hacked during the upcoming general election.
  • Reviewed Spanish language press release related to upcoming special elections in the Mount Vernon Community School District and the City of Central City on 9/13/2016.

8/25/2016 –

  • Conducted voter registration challenge hearing on Ms. Petra Marie Cote. Result: challenge dismissed due to fact Ms. Cote is a naturalized US citizen.
  • Conference call with the Compliancy Group to review progress on HIPPA policies being prepared for the Auditor’s Office.
  • Reviewed Linn County Treasurer’s press release notifying public that property tax statements will be going out into the mail this week.
  • Solicited and received email from Clerk of Court’s Office indicating that it is unaware of any person being adjudicated as no longer competent to vote in Linn County.
  • Reviewed, revised, and approved several HIPPA policies for the Auditor’s Office.

8/26/2016 – Vacation Day.

8/29/2016

  • Spoke to BOS during public comment regarding minutes versus videoing of BOS meetings and asked for question to be addressed as to who will enforce a proposed minimum wage in the County.
  • Met with Xiphos Web Marketing LLC regarding recommendations on how to improve www.linncountyauditor.org and its related web sites.

8/30/2016

  • Received letter and guidance from USDOJ on ADA Compliance for Polling Place Voting.
  • Reviewed meeting agenda for Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Regular Board Meeting being held on 9/1/2016.
  • Directed assistant to post new US Department of Labor revised minimum wage poster in office area.

8/31/2016

  • Received letter from challenged registrant indicating his desire to be removed from Linn County’s voter registration roll.
  • Interviewed by Kevin Barry of KGAN/KFXA – CBS2/FOX28 regarding ballot security and the hacking of elections.

9/1/2016 – Exchanged several emails with Pro Video after it learned the County had awarded a bid to another company to provide video recording services of BOS meetings.

9/2/2016 – Revised Linn County Auditor home page.

9/5/2016 – County, State, and Federal Holiday – Labor Day – all offices closed.

9/6/2016

  • Reviewed request from school employee wishing to be a poll watcher for the YES supporters of the Mount Vernon Schools Facilities Bond issue.
  • Reviewed social media promoting short code 21000 which provides updates in Spanish on upcoming elections when you opt in with the keyword ELECCIONES
  • Advised publisher of Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun we have received 119 absentee ballots for the upcoming Mount Vernon Community School District Facilities Bond referendum to be held on 9/13/2016.
  • Promoted HOW TO VOTE IN IOWA video on social media.
  • Received certificate from the Election Center confirming my credential as a Certified Election Registration Administrator had been renewed through 12/31/2018.

9/7/2016

  • Called Mayor of Fairfax regarding polling places in Fairfax for upcoming general election.
  • Reviewed inquiry from State of Iowa’s Office of Ombudsman regarding Prairieburg city council vacancy.
  • Reviewed annexation question from the City of Robins.
  • Reviewed inquiry from local resident who recently passed the CPA examination and is interested in a non-paid internship to gain practical experience in Accounting.
  • Blogged Ambulance Services – Are you ready to pay?
  • Reviewed email from Iowa Secretary of State’s Office regarding classification of voter registrations from other County agencies as required by the National Voting Rights Act.
  • Reviewed letter from local resident regarding access to list of voters who have already requested absentee ballots.
  • Reviewed 2nd email from IowaLive9@q.com regarding questions on the legality of the County’s proposed minimum wage ordinance.
  • Made offer to the BOS to setup a hotline for the public to report violations of the County’s proposed minimum wage ordinance.

Ambulance Services – Are you ready to pay?

September 7, 2016

Earlier this year, I had the good fortune of being helped by a professional crew of paramedics from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department and Area Ambulance, and transported in an ambulance to the hospital … all in a timely manner. Thank you!

A few weeks later, I had the bad fortune of receiving a bill for my out of pocket costs associated with my ambulance ride, i.e., my out of pocket cost with insurance was over $1,000.oo In Linn County, only two ambulance service providers are in-network providers for Wellmark, i.e., the Hiawatha Fire Department and the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Ambulance Service. Those two providers are not viable service providers outside of their service areas.

One solution is for the County’s insurance administrator – Wellmark – to negotiate with the ambulance service providers within the County to obtain discounts for all of the residents of the County. Another solution could be for County and/or other large employers to negotiate a contract with one or more of the ambulance service providers. I have suggested both solutions to the Linn County Board of Supervisors (BOS) in an effort to encourage them to address the issue on behalf of the County’s employees. To date and to my knowledge, the only action taken is the email below from Linn County Human Resources.

Today, at the BOS meeting, I once again asked the BOS to initiate contract talks with local ambulance service providers because I do not want employees being motivated by out of pocket cost considerations to avoid taking ambulances when they should be taking an ambulance. I volunteered to initiate the contract talks with the ambulance providers on behalf of the BOS, if the BOS does not want to initiate contract talks with the ambulance providers.

Out of network providers of ambulance services could charge you whatever they choose when they are not under a contact with your employer and/or your insurance administrator. And unlike the cost of epipens, the cost ambulance services could double or triple without notice – and you will incur a cost for those services – and you will not know about your out of pocket costs until after you have used the services.

What is your employer doing to control the costs of ambulance services for its employees?

Joel D Miller, Auditor

From:
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2016 2:41 PM
To: !!Everyone – Countywide
Subject: Ambulance Services

Please share with employees who do not have access to email.

All area ambulance services are not created equal at least when it comes to whether they participate in Wellmark’s network or not.

Attached is a list of In-Network Ambulance Providers within a 50-mile radius of Cedar Rapids. An In-Network Provider is required to write off the provider savings and accept the insurance allowed amount as settlement. The member is responsible for the deductible and coinsurance to the provider.

Out-of-Network Providers do not write-off provider savings and the member is invoiced this amount as the billed charge (plus deductible and coinsurance). This creates an additional liability to the member referred to as Balance Billing. The Out-of-Network Ambulance providers within a 50-mile radius are:

Fairbank Fire Department, Buchanan County

Stanwood Ambulance Service, Cedar County

Clarence Community Ambulance Association, Cedar County

Town of Colesburg, Delaware County

Oxford Junction Volunteer Ambulance, Jones County

Area Ambulance, Linn County

Center Point Urbana Ambulance Inc, Linn County

Attached is an Ambulance Claim Payment sample comparing the difference in payment between an In-Network Provider and Out-of-Network Provider. Members can discuss a balance billed amount with their provider.

This is not a NEW arrangement, however, it has come to our attention recently that not all employees were aware of the cost difference depending on the Provider used.

If you have questions, feel free to contact our office at 892-5120.

Ambulance Email.pdf

Ambulance – Payment Example.pdf

Auditor’s report 8/14 – 8/22/2016

August 23, 2016
Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

8/14/2016

  • Election Services (ES) had processed 2,620 absentee ballot requests (ABR) on 8/10 with another 1500 ABRs in queue. On the same date in 2012, ES had processed 4,497 ABRs.
  • Reviewed email from Secretary of the Linn County Republican Party asking an assistant county attorney about the cancellation of a voter registration challenge hearing.
  • Exchanged emails with FairVote re instant runoff voting (IRV) in State of Iowa. Iowa’s election laws do not allow IRV.

8/15/2016

  • Claims without itemized receipts from employees are becoming an issue once again after I initially addressed the issue about nine years ago. An assistant county attorney (ACA) told the Board of Supervisors that the Board should be approving claims without receipts even though the Board’s policy indicates the Auditor should not process claims without itemized receipts. ACA did not have an itemized receipt for an airline baggage fee; however, he did present his credit card statement – not an itemized receipt – as proof of payment of the baggage fee. Board later approved the payment of the claim; henceforth, Auditor’s Office (AO) will process all claims without itemized receipts for the Board to scrutinize. Accounts Payable in AO was following direction of former deputy auditor who on 6/17/2013 wrote: 
    331.504(8) File for presentation to the board all unliquidated claims against the county and all claims for fees or compensation, except salaries fixed by state law. The claims, before being audited or paid, shall be itemized to clearly show the basis of the claim and whether for property sold or furnished for services rendered or for another purpose. An action shall not be brought against the county relating to a claim until the claim is filed as provided in this subsection and the payment refused or neglected. Per Andy Nielsen, Deputy State Auditor:   the following code section applies to sheriff’s deputies but is recommended for all employees. 70A.13 “Particulars required by county board. The board of supervisors shall not approve any claim for mileage or other traveling expenses presented by any peace officer including the sheriff and the sheriff’s deputies unless the destinations and number of miles covered in each trip are given, or, in the case of extended trips, unless railroad, hotel, and other traveling expenses, excepting meals, are verified by receipts.”
  • Traveled to Philadelphia, PA, for the Election Center’s 32nd Annual Conference.
  • Responded to an email questioning the safeguards in place so our voting system cannot get hacked and votes not altered.
  • Asked Board of Supervisors to approve the temporary appointment of a deputy auditor to handle a voter registration challenge hearing. Board discussed, but removed item from further agendas until Secretary of State’s Office could be queried for advice.

8/16/2016

  • Asked voter outreach coordinator to determine if Election Services should participate in upcoming Latino Festival scheduled for 9/18/2016.
  • Reviewed email from Election Services to local union who had requested use of voting machines to be used for a union election. ES provided list of private vendors who could meet the needs of a local union needing to conduct an internal election. Due to the nature of the current environment surrounding elections, I have decided that our election equipment will not be rented to non-government agencies or entities.
  • Decided the order for parties and non-political organizations on the November ballot. If I am the Auditor in 2018, the opposite order will be on the 2018 November ballot.
  • 9am – 4:30pm – Attended Election Center Class #29 – Using Surveys, Focus Groups, and Polling to Collect Information to Help Election Professionals.

8/17/2016

  • Confirmed Board of Supervisors has until 5pm on 8/31/2016 to add/change/remove ballot language for the November General Election per:
    331.306 Petitions of eligible electors. If a petition of the voters is authorized by this chapter, the petition is valid if signed by eligible electors of the county equal in number to at least ten percent of the votes cast in the county for the office of president of the United States or governor at the preceding general election, unless otherwise provided by state law. The petition shall include the signatures of the petitioners, a statement of their place of residence, and the date on which they signed the petition. Petitions authorized by this chapter shall be filed with the board of supervisors not later than eighty-two days before the date of the general election if the question is to be voted upon at the general election. If the petition is found to be valid, the board of supervisors shall, not later than sixty-nine days before the general election, notify the county commissioner of elections to submit the question to the registered voters at the general election.
  • Reviewed email exchange between deputy commissioner of elections and Marion’s city clerk re changing City of Marion’s charter via a question on the November General Election ballot. The petitioners appear to have 575 signatures and 505 signatures are needed per:
    372.11 Amendment to charter. A home rule charter may be amended by one of the following methods: 1. The council, by resolution, may submit a proposed amendment to the voters at a special city election, and the proposed amendment becomes effective if approved by a majority of those voting.  2. The council, by ordinance, may amend the charter. However, within thirty days of publication of the ordinance, if a petition valid under the provisions of section 362.4 is filed with the council, the council must submit the ordinance amendment to the voters at a special city election, and the amendment does not become effective until approved by a majority of those voting.  3. If a petition valid under the provisions of section 362.4 is filed with the council proposing an amendment to the charter, the council must submit the proposed amendment to the voters at a special city election, and the amendment becomes effective if approved by a majority of those voting.  362.4 Petition of eligible electors.  If a petition of the voters is authorized by the city code, the petition is valid if signed by eligible electors of the city equal in number to ten percent of the persons who voted at the last preceding regular city election, but not less than ten persons, unless otherwise provided by state law. The petition shall include the signatures of the petitioners, a statement of their place of residence, and the date on which they signed the petition. The petition shall be examined before it is accepted for filing. If the petition appears valid on its face it shall be accepted for filing. If it lacks the required number of signatures it shall be returned to the petitioner. Petitions which have been accepted for filing are valid unless written objections are filed with the city clerk within five working days after the petition is received. The objection process in section 44.8 shall be followed.
  • Responded to inquiry from NACO (National Association of Counties) via Supervisor Houser re threats or attacks on Linn County’s voting systems. Answer = none at this time.
  • 8am – 11am – Continued attending Election Center Class #29 – Using Surveys, Focus Groups, and Polling to Collect Information to Help Election Professionals.
  • Provided advocate for Friends of Cedar Lake with voter registration statistics, e.g., 58% of Linn County’s registered voters reside within the City of Cedar Rapids.

8/18/2016

  • Asked deputy commissioner of elections about our military voters’ perception on whether their vote gets counted on Election Day? Per FVAP, nation-wide, 67% of military voters do NOT have confidence their votes get counted. Answer = we believe our military voters have high confidence; however, at present, we have no means to measure their perception.
  • Thomson Reuters, our vendor who supports Aumentum, our property tax system, suggested that the County Treasurer be allowed to post the annual tax list. Posting the tax list is a statutory duty of the County Auditor and I see no reason to change the process or lobby the Legislature to change the duty from the Auditor to the Treasurer.
  • Reviewed email exchange between deputy commissioner of elections and deputy Secretary of State indicating only the County Commissioner of Elections or his/her designee can preside over a voter registration challenge hearing. The SOS has no authority to hold a hearing. This information will be presented at a future Board of Supervisors meeting.
  • Attended keynote address, Legislative Update, The Dynamics of Administering the Presidential Elections, National Voter Registration Day, and Treating Voters Like Customers sessions at the Election Center Conference.

8/19/2016

  • Attended Use of Technology in Election Administration, Handling Emergencies on Election Day, Presidential Election Preparation, and Your Election is Being Watched sessions at the Election Center Conference. Also visited with vendors who provide language translation services for elections, ES&S – our election equipment supplier, and a vendor who provides technology which can read petitions.
  • Exchanged emails with local US Attorney’s Office re clarification of federal statutes/guidelines related to voter accessibility.

8/22/2016 – At 4:30am, departed hotel in Philadelphia and traveled back to Cedar Rapids. Upon arrival at office, met with deputy auditors and reviewed/responded to email backlog.

Auditor’s report 8/8 – 8/12/2016

August 12, 2016
Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

8/8/2016

  • Annual Tax List electronically certified and posted by Auditor’s Office within Aumentum.
  • Started reviewing Fiscal Year 2016 related party transactions to be communicated to our outside audit firm for potential inclusion in the County’s annual financial report.
  • Reviewed Do You Enjoy Waiting In Line video that will be playing in the previews at local movie theaters urging residents to vote early in the upcoming general election.
  • Participated in the demonstration of a hotline product by NAVEX Global.

 

8/9/2016

  • Set the date/time for an upcoming voter registration challenge hearing at 4pm on 8/25 in the Auditor/Recorder’s conference room in the PSC.
  • Contacted a legislator about requesting a determination from the Attorney General of Iowa.
  • Reviewed request from Mount Vernon Community School District to host a satellite voting station on 9/9 for an upcoming bond election being held on 9/13/2016.
  • Attended Board of Supervisors meeting and commented on the unreasonable out of pocket costs of using ambulance services in Linn County. Video posted here.
  • Participated in meeting with African community leaders, a representative of the Catherine McCauley Center, and the CEO of Diversity Focus at Diversity Focus re getting existing citizens and future citizens of the immigrant community engaged in voting.
  • Attended a webcast hosted by Gallup re employee engagement in local and state government.

 

8/10/2016

  • Reviewed legal opinion on Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). Conclusion: IRV does not appear to be allowed under existing Iowa laws.
  • Attended Board of Supervisors meeting and commented on the lack of specifics in the ballot language for a $40M bond referendum going on the 11/8 general election ballot. See Gazette Linn County voters get say on water and land bond sale and video of meeting.

 

8/11/2016

  • Voter Outreach Coordinator reported that 95 cell phone users have opted in for alerts from Elections Services. You can opt in by texting the keyword ELECTIONS to short code 21000.
  • Received email from constituent stating, “Yikes. How can you be right once again?” He was referring to Linn County voters get say on water and land bond sale.
  • Received request from the Linn County Republican Central Committee Secretary to provide poll watcher training.

 

8/12/2016

  • Responded to last of numerous emails originating with the Treasurer’s Office re my certification of the tax list on 8/8. You can pay your property taxes due on 9/1/2016 at https://pay.iowataxandtags.org/Taxes/Step2?CountyID=57
  • Confirmed the following item was on the Board’s agenda for 8/15/2016: Discuss & decide on the temporary appointment of Mr. Tom Patterson of Hiawatha as Deputy Auditor for the purpose of conducting a voter registration challenge hearing on Mr. Antonio Esposito of Linn County.

Annual tax list compiled

August 5, 2016

At 6:49pm tonight, the annual tax list was compiled by the Auditor’s Office, which fulfilled one of the Auditor’s statutory duties.   

Next step:  the Linn County Treasurer receives the tax list and mails out tax bills to the 106,911 taxable parcels of real estate in Linn County.

Auditor’s report 7/29 – 8/5/2016

August 5, 2016
Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

7/29/2016

  • Voter ID Cards with General Election Information mailed to registered voters and arriving in mailboxes starting 7/29 – see http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Linn-County-sends-election-mailers–388591922.html
  • Reviewed email exchange between Deputy Commissioner of Elections and Board of Supervisors’ (BOS) Director of Policy & Administration re the petitions presented to the BOS to place the 5 to 3 Supervisor reduction issue on the ballot. For whatever reason, the BOS seems to be interested in reviewing the petitions for legal sufficiency when they already approved a resolution placing the reduction issue on the ballot.
  • Received copy of County Assessor’s 2016 Homestead Credit & Military Exemption Allowances & Disallowances recommendations to be approved by the BOS.

 

7/30/2016 (Saturday) – Called/escalated to Senior Manager at Thomson Reuters (TR) after being informed by Deputy Auditor that TR employees were not authorized to work after-hours/weekends to support Linn County in processing the annual tax list. See follow-up on 8/1.

 

8/1/2016

  • Participated in Institute of Internal Auditors 2016 Midwest District Conference in Altoona. Attended the following sessions: The Internal Audit Evangelist (keynote #1), Selling Audit Ideas, Fraud Cases & Their Impact on Internal Auditors, Whistle-blower Hotline Best Practices, Fraud in the Virtual World, and Fraud in the Financial Services Industry.
  • Advised Accounts Payable to segregate and explain to the BOS a claim filed by an employee for reimbursement for preferred seating on an airline. On 8/3, the BOS DISapproved the claim.
  • TR (Aumentum) agreed to provide after-hours support to the Auditor’s Office in order to complete the Tax List the week of 8/1.

 

8/2/2016 – Participated in Institute of Internal Auditors 2016 Midwest District Conference in Altoona. Attended the following sessions:  The Accountant’s Duty of Due Diligence, Ethics in the Real World, Active Leadership (keynote #2), Fraud in Government, and Tone at the Top.

 

8/3/2016

  • Hosted team meeting to review current priorities for the Auditor’s Office and to inform the team of preparations being made for the upcoming General Election.
  • Registered for a webcast sponsored by Gallup on the State of Local & State Government Workers’ Engagement in the USA to be held at 3pm on 8/9. Invited the BOS to connect, but received no response.
  • Joined a newly forming Meetup group called Cedar Rapids Law with the hope of improving the quality of documents used to process real estate transactions. Encouraged Real Estate Services employees to consider participating in the meetup.
  • Attended weekly Aumentum meeting and encouraged Supervisor Harris to attend the upcoming Aumentum User Groups Conference in Las Vegas to address on-going issues with Aumentum.

 

8/4/2016

  • Monitored weekly TR (Aumentum) conference call for progress/updates concerning completion of Annual Tax List.
  • Discussion with local business owner re forming an Advisory Group to the Linn County Auditor for the purpose of recommending what to audit and/or what to bring to the attention of the BOS and other County officials.  Interested?  Contact me at mailto:auditor@q.com 

8/5/2016

  • Advised by the Deputy Commissioner of Elections that a second voter registration challenge had been filed by a local resident. Next steps: decide when to hold a hearing and notify the voter of the hearing.
  • Reviewed CBS2 news story related to voter registration cards with inaccurate information. Inaccuracies were caused by a timing issue, i.e., voters made changes to registrations between the time we pulled the information to be printed and when the card was finally viewed by the voter.
  • Deputy Auditor received resolution from the City of Marion which legalized a 10 year tax transition for the Brookside Drive annexation that needed to be included in the Annual Tax List.
  • Reviewed a potential 20 year $40M bond issue that may be approved by the BOS for inclusion on the upcoming General Election ballot.
  • Met with Expense Reduction Analysts re payments to vendors in FY16.
  • Learned from an email exchange between the County Attorney’s Office and a local resident that I may be able to appoint a person to conduct a hearing on the first voter registration to be challenged, which was earlier cancelled due to a legal technicality.
  • Scheduled a meeting to gather information on setting up a Heroes Hotline for employees and the public to report waste, fraud, or misuse that could be audited by the Auditor’s Office per the Auditor’s authority to audit.
  • 6:30pm – Left the Auditor’s Office after awaiting the completion of the annual tax list.

Auditor’s report 7/23 – 7/28/2016

July 29, 2016
Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

7/23/2016 – Reviewed Central City resolution #19-2016 setting 9/13/2016 for a special election to fill the unexpired terms of former council members Andrew Palmer and David Welter.

7/25/2016

  • Rescheduled meeting with the Hillary/Coordinated Campaign’s Voter Protection Director for 11:30am on 8/3 in my office.
  • Discussed translating How to Vote and other elections information – not forms – into Swahili and French per a request from a group of relatively new US citizens from Africa.

7/26/2016

  • Reviewed feedback and suggestions on how to improve our ExpressVote terminals from the CompuPlace/ECCF Operations Director of the Ecumenical Community Center Foundation.
  • Contracted with Xiphos Web Marketing LLC to confirm links, intuitiveness, and ease of use on www.linncountyauditor.org

7/27/2016

  • Received email from Facilities Manager indicating my request to mount photos of past County Auditors in the hallway outside my office did not comply with building’s aesthetics.
  • Informed Purchasing Director that we would accept one of the surplused Options’ paper shredders in our office to eliminate a shredding service contract.
  • Requested a report from Facilities confirming who has access to the Elections Depot.
  • Reviewed an email to the County Attorney in which a resident who challenged the voter registration of a non-citizen is asking if the County Attorney is going to intervene.
  • Attended SEAT (State of Iowa Elections Administrator Training) recertification training in Coralville along with 5 permanent Election Services employees. Topics discussed: Ballot/Equipment Security & Written Procedures, Tests & Test Decks, UOCAVA, Best Practices – General Election Staffing & Training, and General Election Hot Topics.
  • Exchanged numerous emails with First Deputy Treasurer regarding reports she wants from Aumentum and/or the Auditor’s Office.
  • Seeking answers as to why NONE of the ambulance providers in Linn County are participating providers with Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield. My out of pocket cost for a ride in an ambulance is more than $1,000. Do we really want County employees or County residents to tell ambulances to go away because the customers cannot afford to pay $1,000 for an ambulance ride? Asked Supervisor John Harris to make an inquiry with Area Ambulance since he is a member of their board of directors.
  • Discussed instant runoff voting with www.fairvote.org

7/28/2016

  • Reviewed email exchange between Deputy Commissioner of Elections and a resident of Marion who is interested in amending the Charter for the City of Marion.
  • Reviewed an email exchange between a Deputy Auditor and County IT related to Aumentum – our property tax system – which failed to process a Levy Value Build. This failure obstructs our goal to provide the Tax List to the Treasurer on 8/1.
  • Directed Elections Services to reach out to a homebound voter who missed voting in the June Primary.
  • Reviewed FY2016 Fixed Asset list for Auditor’s Office.
  • Awaiting word from an assistant county attorney as to whether or not the Iowa Public Information Board is satisfied with the County’s response to a complaint.  ###

Auditor’s report 7/15 – 7/22/2016

July 22, 2016
Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

7/15/2016 – Vacation

7/18/2016 – Vacation

7/19/2016

  • Received briefing from First Deputy Auditor Shoop on events/issues occurring in my absence.
  • Caught up on emails received during my absence.
  • Received phone call from Linn County GOP chair re voter data subscription.

7/20/2016

  • Received phone call from City Attorney for Central City re council vacancies.
  • Observed Concerned Citizens of Linn County committee presenting signed petitions to the Board of Supervisors.  Petitions requested November General Election ballot question asking if the number of Supervisors should be reduced from 5 to 3.
  • Met with Mr. Rob Clark, News Editor, of The Gazette re publishing information for early voters.
  • Met with Mr. Randy Ray, Supervisor Candidate, re questions about Linn County government.
  • Met with Real Estate team re tasks to completed in order to produce the annual tax list for the Treasurer by August 1st.

7/21/2016

  • Called attorney (paid with personal funds) to discuss letter to the County Attorney re GoFundMe account.
  • Met with Assistant County Attorney re IPIB complaint. Emailed electronic records to Stutler related to official robocalls by the Auditor’s Office.
  • Met with Deputy Auditor Stacey Law re Aumentum tax software’s inability to track TIF indebtedness as required by the Code of Iowa.
  • Met with Mr. Esaie Tongar, President of WakeUp For Your Rights re voter engagement in the African community.

7/22/2016

  • Spoke to 20+ members of the Catholic Layman’s Club. Commented on the Auditor’s Office, Linn County government, and the upcoming presidential election.
  • Exchanged emails and talked with officials of the Office of Ombudsman for the State of Iowa re nepotism and sister-in-laws.

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