The Board of Marshall County Commissioners met in regular session with David E. Baier, Chairman, Keith Bramhall and Barbara Kickhaefer members and Sandra Wilson, Deputy County Clerk present. Others present at the meeting were Paul Kessinger from the Advocate, Steve Boyda, Marysville, KS, Jamie Boyda and Vernita Peeks.
The Board of Commissioners called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.
The Board opened the meeting with the flag salute.
The minutes and agenda were approved upon motion of David E. Baier, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer. Unanimous.
County Attorney Laura Johnson-McNish met with the Board with a recommendation for a new secretary to replace the retirement of Cindy Ingersoll. Jane Backman of Vermillion, KS was the recommendation for the position. County Attorney Laura Johnson-McNish is requesting the Board of County Commissioners to approve her recommendation at the starting wage of $17.25 per hour effective June 1, 2019.
David E. Baier moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to approve the hiring of Jane Backman, Vermillion, KS to fill the vacancy in the Marshall County Attorney’s office at the rate of $17.25 per hour. Unanimous.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to sign the removal letters for the Neighborhood Revitalization Program participants who did not pay their taxes in a timely manner. Unanimous.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve the following purchase order. Unanimous.
GlaxoSmithKline, Atlanta, GA
$1,413.20-Health Dept. Fund-P.O. #5892
David E. Baier moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to approve the Neighborhood Revitalization application for William, Lucinda & Dustin Tryon, Blue Rapids, KS with the preconstruction pictures that were provided by the applicant. Unanimous.
Emergency Management Director Bill Schwindamann, Jr. met with the Board to update them on the flooding situation in Marshall County. As the flood waters continue to rise, they have identified patrons who could possibly become landlocked due to the flood waters and are working with these people on an escape route. Mr. Schwindamann presented the Board with a Proclamation 20-19-05-20-1 Local Disaster Emergency for Marshall County, Kansas.
David E. Baier moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve the above referenced Proclamation 20-19-05-20-1 Local Disaster Emergency for Marshall County, Kansas dated 05/20/2019. Unanimous.
David E. Baier moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve an extension for Proclamation 20-19-05-20-1 dated 05/28/2019. Unanimous.
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig and Public Works Coordinating Supervisor Larry Polson met with the Board. Mr. Craig reported that the Oketo blacktop will be closed starting @ 10:00 a.m. today for the bridge replacement project. David E. Baier asked Mr. Craig to be in contact with Ashley Lyhane, Agency on Aging Director to assess some water drainage issues at the Helving Center. The Board & Mr. Craig discussed multiple places throughout the county where roads are closed due to flooding. Public Works Administrator Mike Craig was still trying to get in contact with Richard Buessing regarding replacing tubes North of Axtell.
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig reminded the Board that the public hearing for the partial vacation of Utah Rd in Vermillion Township will be held on June 3, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
County Counselor Jason Brinegar met with the Board to update on the Brett Hogan cases. There is only one of the 4 cases that has not been dismissed. He will keep the Board up to date on this issue. Also, asked Mr. Brinegar to return to the meeting at 10:30 to be present for the discussion of the Community Memorial Healthcare ½ cent sales tax request. Mr. Brinegar pointed out to the Board that at this point, their decision needs to be whether to put the sales tax issue on the ballot or not and the verbiage of the ballot question can be decided at a later time.
Marshall County Patron Steve Boyda voiced concerns regarding a request from a Board member to order merchandise from a County Vendor on the County’s account for personal use and then reimburse for the item. Mr. Boyda expressed that this is morally wrong and lacks integrity in light of the circumstances and ongoing investigation surrounding the elected official in Marshall County. Additionally, this is contraindicating the ½ cent sales tax issue as the County is exempt from paying sales tax.
David E. Baier moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to approve payroll as presented. Unanimous.
Jim Swim Jr., chairman of the Marshall County Democratic Party and County Treasurer Jami Ellenbecker met with the Board to discuss the corroboration with the local schools in the implementation of Civic Engagement which is individuals sharing their skills and knowledge through actions intended to improve communities, states, nations, the world and themselves through civic education. This participation in civic education would be curriculum driven in the schools. In theory, this would replace the previous practice of County Government Day wherein the students spent the day at the courthouse learning about the various offices and duties. The new civic engagement process would involve presenting information to the students in the classroom to coincide with the curriculum. Others present for this discussion were Register of Deeds Martha Roesch, Agency on Aging Director Ashley Lyhane, Health Nurse Sue Rhodes, Clerk of the District Court Nancy Koch, Public Works Administrator Mike Craig and County Appraiser Francine Crome. Commissioner Bramhall suggested that Mr. Swim contact the local consortium to see what assistance they could be.
County Treasurer Jami Ellenbecker wanted to make everyone aware that Marshall County will be the host to the Northeast Kansas County Officials Meeting in the Fall of 2020 and probably need to start thinking about making plans for this. She also reported that this years meeting will be held this Fall in Lyon County.
Community Memorial Healthcare CEO Curtis Hawkinson met with the Board. Also in attendance for the meeting was Ashley Kracht, Daniel Fehr, Gail Gilkerson and Charles Loiseau. Mr. Hawkinson reiterated the challenges facing rural hospitals today. Vernita Peeks of Marysville, KS voiced her concerns and objections that if the ½ cent sales tax were applied that the public would have no input on how the money was spent. She also inquired as to “what” services are that are part of the uncompensated fees. She would like to see some type of analysis as to what services are going unpaid. Charlie Loiseau of Frankfort, KS spoke to the importance of quality of care and feels our small rural hospital provides far better personalized care than our much larger neighboring hospitals. Steve Boyda, Marysville, KS asked if the hospital continues to lose 1 to 1 ½ million dollars each year and only anticipate receiving $450-500K dollars annually from the sales tax if this will really gain anything or if this is just a bandaid. Mr. Hawkinson did state that the actual losses of the hospital probably do not indicate this amount of loss each year. These numbers are taken from their annual GAAP audit report. Since the hospital is a not for profit hospital their hope is just to break even and stay competitive with wage, growth and technology.
County Counselor Jason Brinegar did inform the Board and patrons that the purpose of this gathering today is for the Board to decide if the issue should be given to the people to decide by way of a ballot question. The Board encouraged the hospital to be open and honest with the community as to what the actual financials of the hospital are and the challenge of educating the public on health care finances. Mr. Hawkinson did state the hospital IS NOT in financial distress at this time but looking forward with the sales tax to try to avoid that happening. County Counselor Jason Brinegar did state that the hospital input on the sales tax question is valuable but the Commissioners have the final say.
David E. Baier moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to put a ½ cent sales tax question on the ballot for the General Election in November. The wording of the question will be agreed upon at a later time. Unanimous.
RSVP Director Joni Spellmeier met with the Board to extend an invitation to their annual meeting being held on June 13. RSVP is for community volunteers 55 years of age or older. There are approximately 200 volunteers throughout Marshall County.
David E. Baier moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to transfer $22,753.33 from County General fund to Agency on Aging Title IIIC fund to offset the negative balance. It is the direction of the Board for Agency on Aging Director Ashley Lyhane to keep track of all income and expenses in Title IIIC so they can get a better handle on where the deficits are coming from.
David E. Baier moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to adjourn the meeting at 11:47 a.m. Unanimous. The next scheduled meeting will be Monday, June 3, 2019 starting at 8:30 a.m.