The Mitchell County Commissioners met on Monday morning in Beloit. They were joined by Wanda Backstrom, Chief Court Services Officer and Director of Community Corrections and Juvenile Justice for the Twelfth Judicial District comprising Mitchell, Jewell, Lincoln, Cloud, Republic and Washington Counties. She presented fiscal year 2018 comprehensive plans for funding.
She was not making a funding request, but she presented their strategic plan which will rely greatly on grant money from outside entities before requests from counties in the district will be made.
Community Corrections will receive a total of $185,505 from the Kansas Department of Corrections. That is an increase from $170,401 in FY2017. The Behavioral Health Budget request from the district is $141,019. Last year they requested similar funding and received $46,191. Grant applications for Behavior Health funding are due May 1. Juvenile Services funding, also provided by the Kansas Department of Corrections, will stay flat at $237,851.
Backstrom discussed legislation regarding misdemeanors and unlimited diversions for minors which has been in place. That law will be changed, and minors will be eligible to receive a diversion as a first-time offender. However, subsequent diversions on similar cases will be at the discretion of the county attorney.
She also said a statewide contract is now in place for functional family therapy and sex offender treatment at no-cost to counties. Backstrom said the district has used both of those services in the past. They will also move toward implementing a parenting program called “Strengthening Families.”
Backstrom was asked what the success rate is for community corrections by Commissioner Jim Marshall. She said they must meet a 75 percent threshold to maintain their funding levels. This means that of all the criminal cases in the district, if more than 25 percent of violators end up in prison the district is considered to be under-performing and can be at risk of losing funding.
County Health Nurse Courtney Murrow presented write-off requests to the commissioners totaling $1456.74 on two cases deemed uncollectable. The commissioners approved the request.
Commissioners Marshall and Claussen attended a health department forum last week. Marshall said a mumps outbreak was discussed. Murrow said there were 106 cases in the state reported this year as of April 18. There have been no reported cases in Mitchell County. Murrow said these were most prevalent on college campuses. She hopes those cases don’t get carried to or contracted in the county when college students come home for the summer.
Commission Chairman Marshall presented a letter for reimbursement from KCAMP to Sheriff Tony Perez along with a check for $1,711 to put toward body cameras for officers which were purchased previously.
County Attorney Mark Noah appeared at Monday’s Mitchell County Commissioners meeting on Monday requested a 10-minute executive session citing attorney/client privilege. Coming out of the session, the commissioners approved Attorney Regine Thompson of Scandia for hire on a temporary basis to serve as a special prosecutor on a Mitchell County case which Noah has recused himself from due to a conflict of interest.
With no further business, the commissioners adjourned until Monday, May 1 at 8:30 a.m. at the Mitchell County Courthouse.