Tensions heightened between the Town of Osceola board and members of the community as the board offered former clerk/treasurer, Lorraine Rugroden, an open ended, part-time position as a deputy treasurer’s assistant. The goal of hiring Rugroden is to help the town get caught up on financial work and to help current treasurer, Chris Stevens, to get up to date training.

“What I recall from Chris’ conversation was that there is a backlog of work, and that there’s training to do, and that we would use Lorraine to do one or the other, or both,” said Supervisor Mike Wallis. “I think the important thing is that Chris learns how to do the job. If this is a can-do, then let’s do it.”

However, concerns from both Osceola residents and supervisor Brandon Whittaker were brought up regarding Rugroden’s departure from the clerk/treasurer position, and how the position would be paid for. “Who’s paying for the deputy treasurer?” Whittaker asked.  “What budget are we cutting to pay for this? We’ve already talked about roadwork stuff being cut for legal fees. How are we going to pay for this?”

“We’re going to have to pay it,” responded Chairman Doug Schmidt. ‘’If we don’t pay it, things don’t get done. We’re at fault already on a number of things that were supposed to be done months ago that never got completed… It’s something that has to be done.

The initial offer to Rugroden detailed a position of 12 hours a week - some of which would be worked at home, and the rest of the worked hours in the office with Stevens. While this initial offer was open ended, Wallis suggested to amend the offer to be effective no longer than six months and that all hours would be worked in the office to provide necessary training for Stevens. With suggestions from residents, the board would also report back every month with the progress reports.

At the end of discussion, the board motioned to offer Lorraine Rugroden a part-time position as deputy treasurer assistant up to 12 hours per week, all of which would be spent in-office and would be employed no longer than six months, or however long Stevens needed for proper training and catching up with backlogged work. The motion passed with two “yes” votes and one abstention by Whittaker. At the time of the resolution, the amended offer was not yet presented and accepted by Rugroden.

Other Business

• Concerns from both the board and community members about the Centurylink internet service in the community were brought up due to increased need for schooling and working from home due to COVID-19. The board decided to draft a letter to send directly to Centurylink highlighting the concerns of the Osceola community and to explore potential solutions to the current internet issues.

• The board is forming a Code of Ethics Committee for the town of Osceola and invites residents who may be interested in joining to send in their contact information, and qualifications to the town clerk no later than July 29.

• More discussions regarding CAFOs were brought up recommending that the town approve a local ownership use permit that requires 51% of CAFO applicants must be permanent residents in the Town of Osceola. The board then proposed sending a letter to the Polk County Board of Supervisors that explains the wishes of the Osceola community that CAFO applicants be permanent residents and adding additional information to the drafted resolution to be revisited at the August 4 meeting.

• The board passed a resolution to designate a Class B Weight Restriction from County Rd. MM to 2301 Oak. Dr.

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