The Fremont County Board of Supervisors discussed VA budget concerns with Fremont County Veterans Affairs (VA) Administrator Carlene Hall at the Jan. 9 meeting.
Hall explained the Veterans Affairs Office receives a yearly allocation from the State of Iowa of around $10,000.  That money is not for use in providing direct services, but for administrative or other costs related to providing services.  That money has been used to help pay Administrative Assistant Nancy Henneman’s salary.  The $10,000 allocation recently dropped to $9,700, though, and Hall said it is expected to drop by another 50 percent.  
Hall was concerned about the office’s ability to pay Henneman’s salary and office expenses should the allocation continue to drop.
“If we lose $10,000 from our budget we can’t even pay our rent!” Hall exclaimed.
Additionally, in preparing her own budget rough draft, Hall said she had included a two percent increase for salaries and four percent increase for travel/education, and that she really wanted and needed to be able to do more outreach, but would need to get more than 1,000 hours per year to do so.  
Hall said there were 756 veterans in Fremont County, and that at last count 300 plus or minus that hadn’t been reached by the VA yet.  
“A lot of these vets aren’t getting proper exit interviews when leaving the service and don’t know what services are available to them,” Hall said.
Hall said often veterans in need were relying on public services, placing an additional burden there, instead of receiving the veteran services they had a right to but weren’t aware of.
Hall said she had veterans from northwest Missouri coming in to her office, as well as some from Page County, due to her availability.  She assured the supervisors that the assistance she provided veterans from outside the county did not affect the budget for services to Fremont County veterans.
Finally, Hall expressed concerns about specific accounting practices with the VA budget, saying she wasn’t sure they were audit proof, and asking the supervisors to consider changing how revenues and expenditures were recorded.  The supervisors asked Hall to get examples from other local counties showing how they were allocating and recording their budgets.  
In other business, the supervisors appointed Earl Hendrickson as alternate member to the SWIPCO Board in case Terry Graham is unavailable, and Alise Snyder presented the board with a copy of the semi-annual Treasurer’s report.