Supervisors asked department heads to cut their proposals to minimize the amount of money needed from reserve accounts.

MONTROSE — The Lee County Board of Supervisors scrutinized its budget over the last month in order to pare down a $1.5 million deficit it faced in 2019.

During its weekly meeting Tuesday the board set a public hearing on the fiscal year 2019 budget for 9:01 a.m. Feb. 27 at the sheriff's department in Montrose.

Instead of drawing more than $1 million from the county's fund balance to cover costs for the fiscal year beginning July 1, supervisors and department heads made cuts to the point that about $188,000 of the fund balance will be used instead, said budget director Cindy Renstrom.

"This was a budget from you-know-where this year," Renstrom said, referring to the deficit.

Funding cuts were considered for the county's five libraries, fair board and the 911 dispatch center, but in the end, $10,000 was budgeted for the libraries, $15,000 for the fair board and $75,000 for PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point).

In total, Lee County will work with a budget of about $26 million in FY '19, not including its $8.7 million fund balance.

To minimize the deficit, several departments, including the sheriff, treasurer, secondary roads and health department significantly cut back their budget requests.

South Lee County courthouse

John Hansen with Midwest Construction Consultants attended Tuesday's meeting to update the board on work at the courthouse in Keokuk and request more money.

Supervisors approved $1,680 in additional funds for roof work.

Hansen said electrical work on the clock tower was completed, as was plumbing on the roof. Before sealing and glazing of bricks on the clock tower can be finished, Hansen said crews were waiting on warmer weather.

Once the remaining shingles are placed on the west end of the roof, that portion of the project will be done. The shingles are expected to come in next week and will take about one week to place.

Other than the west end shingles and glazing bricks on the clock tower, construction on one of Iowa's oldest courthouses is largely complete — for now.

So far, nearly $700,000 has been spent on repairs to the Keokuk courthouse since construction began in August.