The Mitchell County Commissioners met on Monday morning. Heather Hartman and Jason Rabe were also in attendance.
First to address the governing body was Randy Gengler representing the road rescue squad. He was following up on a previous discussion with the Commissioners about the need to update the “Jaws of Life” tool used to extract people trapped inside wrecked vehicles. He had informed the commissioners that the new composite materials used to make the passenger cage’s in today’s vehicles has resulted in a better and stronger areas to keep passengers safe.
However these new materials are extremely hard it is almost impossible to cut them with the low pressure tools they have used for many years. If they upgrade to the new high pressure tools none of the low pressure tools could be used. They would need to purchase new pumps, lines, fluids, and cutting tools.
Gengler has been exploring the new high pressure tools. In his research Gengler located three possible vendors and from those three he had chosen the T-N-T Corporation. The rescue squad had adequate funds to purchase the new “Jaws of Life” and the commissioners approved the $26,957 expenditure.
Chris Treaster, County Clerk, reported to the commissioners that the current Pitney Bowes postage meter is ten years old and requiring repairs quite often. After comparison shopping she has located a new postage meter for a 36 or 60 month lease. The sixty month lease would cost $276 per month. She believed that would be adequate for their needs. The Commissioners gave their approval.
Dale Housh, Superintendent of Public Works, told the Commissioners that it might be time to end the “No Charge” program for refuse at the Landfill funded by the Dane Hansen grant. Utilization had dropped significantly seeming to indicate folks have brought all their trash to the dump that they are going to bring. They discussed the possibility of opening up the program to include tractor tires which previously had not been accepted. No official decision was made.
Carol Miller, Director of NCK CASA, presented her fiscal year 2018 budget request to the commissioners. Her request of $12,000 was the same funding received last year. The commissioners thanked her for holding the line for her organization.
John Roudybush, a citizen of Mitchell County, was on the agenda to address the commissioners about expenditures of the sheriff’s department. Roudybush began his comments asking why Mitchell County Sheriff’s personnel transported a prisoner from the Mitchell County jail to the Saline County Jail when it should have been Saline County’s duty to do the transporting.
Sheriff Tony Perez responding in saying, “Mitchell County had a prisoner in the Saline County jail to pick up and bring back to Beloit. It was a courtesy for us to take their prisoner down to Salina when we would have been going to get our prisoner anyway.”
What then followed were a number of accusations by Roudybush regarding his unfair treatment by the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Department. County attorney Mark Noah and Sheriff Perez attempted to fairly address Roudybush’s concerns.
Sheila Nelson-Stout, President of OCCK, discussed the status of the program as it completes its 46th year of providing assistance to disabled people so they can live more independent lives.
OCCK serves people in Jewell, Republic, Cloud, Mitchell, Lincoln, Ellsworth, Ottawa, Saline, and Dickinson Counties. The reported economic impact of OCCK on Mitchell County in 2016 was $1,306,800.
Nelson-Stout highlighted the accomplishments of OCCK in 2015: provided assistive technology to 1,262 people, provided direct services to 181 Mitchell County residents, employed 332 people, employed 27 Mitchell County residents, and provided services to over 4,100 people.
OCCK is requesting a 3% increase of funds received by Mitchell County for 2018. The County is restricted by current Kansas law to not raise the county budget by more than the current Consumer Price Index rate which is about 1.4%, and no official decision was made.