KVSV

Commissioners Sign New Jail Fee Policy

Mitchell County Attorney, Mark J. Noah, met in executive session this morning with the Mitchell County Commissioners and County Clerk, Chris Treaster to discuss pending litigation.

No decisions were made during the meeting but Commission Chairman, Tom Claussen, explained the reason for the meeting and said the Commissioners signed off on a policy giving Attorney Noah the authority to take action against people who choose to violate the terms of their probation.

Attorney Noah explained to those present the rules in Mitchell County say these people cannot break any laws or use alcohol or drugs during the term their probation. Based on his conversation with the Commissioners he has now been given the authority to collect jail assessment fees owed to the County for the time these people spend in the jail.

If these offenders violate these terms for drinking they are placed in the Mitchell County Jail for a period of 48 hours. If they are caught using drugs they are placed in the Mitchell County Jail for a period of 5 days. Regular jail assessment fees are $30 a day so up until this time the cost to the county for the room and board for these people has been up to $150 each time they chose to violate their probation and are remanded to the Mitchell County Jail.

"This will allow the county to re-coop some of the funds these probationers are costing us and perhaps this will give these people pause when they start to drink or buy drugs if they know we will hit them in the pocketbook," Noah said.

After the District Judge sentences these people she loses jurisdiction over them unless they are arrested again, Attorney Noah explained. With the authority gained from the Commissioners this morning he will be able to start filing civil actions and collecting these fees from the offenders through the limited civil or civil court process since most of these cases will be fairly small amounts. This will also allow him to deal with cases of violation of post sentencing DWI's.

These people are also expected to maintain or find gainful employment and this will allow them the ability to pay off these fees. If they don't pay the fees he will collect them by garnishing their wages at the place of their employment.

"It is expensive for the county to run a jail and if these people have money to pay their drug dealer then they have money to pay their jail fees," Chairman Claussen said. All three commissioners were in agreement with this action.

Gayle Seehafer and Jim Marshall, candidates for Commissioner Virgil Palen's seat were present at the meeting. Palen is retiring this year. Chairman Claussen reported the State has $561,000 for reimbursement for over time hours. Mitchell County will apply to get some of this money back.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, told commissioners his crew is putting gravel on the north/south landfill road as it is in bad shape. He said this road receives heavy use. There are often 130 to 150 loads brought into the landfill on Saturdays.

Emerson said they are starting on the beams on the bridge on Jasmine Trail road. The rain slowed them down last week but they will be getting back to work today. They hope to get the road beams put up this week since they are done with the road down below.

He talked to John Cashatt, County Engineer, as the commissioners asked and he said the new bridge still has to be inspected. He charges $42 for each bridge he inspects and there are 240 bridges in the county. The Causeway Bridge was inspected last Thursday but Emerson hasn't heard about that yet. Since they weren't there very long he is hoping they didn't find much wrong.

Emerson sent a request in for Federal Funds on the Jasmine Trail Bridge in the amount of $100,000. This is the exchange money from the state. They should hear back on that this week. They have to keep a running inventory on what materials are used. He thinks the raw material will cost around $100,000 for the decking, beans and piling they have used. He also has to keep track on the hours of labor and use of equipment as this is also covered. Emerson is hoping to the bridge done for a little less than $150,000,which would be good on a bridge of this size.

Somebody used the transfer building at the landfill for target practice. The bullets didn't cause any damage to anything in the building, just the sidewall. They can use bolts to filling the bullet holes. He thinks they were trying to hit the security lights but just had poor aim, Emerson said. His crew is still mowing and still have to do the striping on the roads they do overlay work on this fall. Emerson said they spent last week replacing 20 some posts on the Waconda Lake Causeway road. He thinks most of this is caused by big farm equipment crossing the road and catching the posts as they go by. Most of the damage usually happens south of the bridge. It would be nice if they could remove the posts and widen out the road but the Bureau of Reclamation won't allow they to do that.

The Commissioners discussed the K-Works meeting being held in Salina on Monday September from 1 to 4 p.m. This is for Kansas Hwy Patrol Station Funding for Construction projects. Commissioner Mike Cooper asked if Emerson knew if the T-works meeting was only for State and Federal roads of if it will also include funding for county roads. Emerson doesn't think it will include funding for county roads. He will check with Norm Bowers of KDOT. Commissioners Claussen and Cooper may attend the meeting after the commission meeting next Monday. Commissioners had talked earlier in this meeting about seeing if they could get any funds to help replace the fence and guardrails across the Causeway at the lake. They all agreed this project has to be a priority in the coming year.

Emerson said they spent last week replacing 20 some posts on the Waconda Lake Causeway road. He thinks most of this is caused by big farm equipment crossing the road and catching the posts as they go by. Most of the damage usually happens south of the bridge. It would be nice if they could remove the posts and widen out the road but the Bureau of Reclamation won't allow they to do that.

Chairman Claussen reported on the Lower Republican River Watershed Flood Plain mapping meeting he attended in Concordia. He said Joe File, local Beloit boy, who works for AMEC Engineering Company that draws up plans for these maps was in charge of the meeting. The Division of Water Resources and FEMA put on the meeting. Claussen said Mitchell County's Flood Plain maps have not been updated since 1940 and are very out of date. The maps will not be completed now until 2014. When they are drawn up File said to be sure to inform people that they are done. Insurance companies are very conscious of these when they insure houses.

Gayle Seafarer told commissioners he talked to Mike Nyhoff, who now works in Hays, and he suggested when they are setting up the plan for water rescue at Waconda Lake they should look at the procedure book Lovewell Lake has in place. Commissioner Cooper said Ed Debesis and Doug Daugherty got together to look at a book. Chairman Claussen said the end result would probably be the same but they would like to have been more responsive than we were.

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