Hartman Reports to Commissioners on Trip to Topeka

At the spur of the moment request of the Mitchell County Commissioners, Heather Hartman, Community Development Director, gave a report on her visit to the Kansas State House in Topeka last week.

Although the initial trip was to escort her daughter to be a Page for State Representative, Susan Concannon, she was also able to visit with Governor Sam Brownback, State Senator Elaine Bowers and also Chris Harris of the Department of Commerce and the head of the ROZ Program that Mitchell County is taking part in.

Hartman said Harris said he would like to come out and visit Beloit. He will be giving a presentation on April 18 at the Solomon Valley Economic Development (SVED) Meeting that will be held on April 18 at Jaybird's Chicken. Hartman invited the commissioners to attend that meeting to meet Harris and learn more about the program.

Mitchell County has six applicants for the ROZ program at the present time and she gets several calls a day inquiring about the program Hartman said, The commissioner made the decision at their January 28, meeting to increase the county's share of funding by $6,000 a year for the next five years. This is funding enough to accept six more applications a year making a total of $9,000 a year which allows nine people to apply for this grant.

Governor Brownback set up the program to try to get more people to move back to Kansas to live. It is actually set up for applicants who have an address outside of the State of Kansas and want to come back and live in the state. The resolution says applicants have to maintain residency outside the state at the time of application.
Hartman talked about ways people can help the county fund this program. They can set up an endowment fund or a single business could set up a fund in the name the person they want it to be used for.

Commissioner Tom Claussen talked about the success of the Farm, Home and Garden Show held at the Mitchell County Fairgrounds. Hartman said, Gina Broeckelman, Director of the Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce was in charge of that event. Everyone who participated was pleased with the large response they had.

Commissioner Claussen also attended the celebration held in Simpson honoring Dr. Bob Severance and the thirteen surviving members of the 1963 Simpson FFA Chapter that helped carry petitions to get the Simpson Fire District voted in.

The decision was made to form the fire district after there were several fires in the area and they had no way to fight the blaze. Fred Hirsch Jr. is the only living member of the first fire district board member was honored, as well as any retired firemen who are still living. The event was held at the Simpson Community Room on Saturday evening April 6. Claussen estimated 80 to 90 people attended, including several members of the 1963 FFA Chapter and many others many from out of state.

Ed Debesis, Emergency Medical Services, gave his report for the month of March. They made 47 ambulance runs with 37 being from the Beloit Station, nine from the Cawker City Station and one out of county run to Concordia. They are 23 runs up from this time last year.

Commissioner Claussen asked how the new ambulance is working out. Debesis said, actually it went into the shop this morning. The temperature gage was showing hot and it was one-half gallon low on antifreeze. He thinks it is leaking out around the cap. Debesis asked for a 10-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. Chairman Mike Cooper announced no decisions were made. Debesis told commissioners he plans to take down the fence at the Beloit station as it is in bad shape. He asked to go to Abrams Concrete and get about 20 concrete parking blocks at $5 to $8 each to make a fence line to help keep people off the grass. This action was approved.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, brought the only concrete bid he received for the second quarter for the commissioner's approval. The bid from for $116.39 a yard from Abram Ready Mix Inc. was approved.

Emerson talked to Roberts Truck Center in Wichita about purchasing a new International Truck to replace their oldest truck. If he gets the bids in within the next 3 months they would have a truck available without the urea emission attachment on it. This year will be the last year these will be made and it will be $10,000 high than the last truck they bought. They have to have a truck that a snowplow will fit on. Emerson will open the bidding up to other dealers on other brands of trucks but Roberts usually turns in the lowest bid. They will trade in their oldest truck with 400,000 miles on it. He plans to purchase the truck bed from Midwest Trucks out of Wichita as he can save money by buying them separately. It will take 90 days for delivery. Chairman Cooper said to get his spec sheet together and get the bids sent out right away.

Commissioner Claussen discussed the State turning over the two short spurs of highway by Asherville and Simpson to the county for a one-time payment of $200,000. Emerson said the Asherville highway would be all right but they would have flooding problems with the Simpson road. The Cloud County line could also be a problem. No decision was made.

Claussen said he had talked to several township residents who are farmers have trouble getting snow removed to get to their cattle after a storm. They asked about getting emergency snow removal from the county. If they don't get the service they pay for they may want to turn the township land back to the county. Emerson said his crews could do that but these people would have to understand they would be the last ones to get service and they would have to do the township roads the county is responsible before they do those roads as well. No decision was made.

Charles Krull, retiring Blue Cross/Blue Shield Insurance representative, was present and introduced Alejandra Juarez who will be taking over his area accounts in the near future. Krull called Juarez the new and improved version of himself and said he is looking forward to retirement.

The Commissioners received a conference call from Lindy Golder, of Blue Cross/Blue Shield to discuss their Long-Term Care Insurance Plan. These would be group rates. Golder explained the different options the employees would have and gave an overview of how the plan works. It includes Home Health, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and Hospice in the plan or any combination of thee the purchaser might wish. Spouses can be included. Kansas is one of only a few states to offer this plan.

After discussion the commissioners and other county employees present were very impressed and felt this is definitely an offer that needs to be taken advantage of from their point of view. They will get the information out to the county employees and discuss this with them. Clerk Treaster will get back to Golder with their decision.

Two Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Rebate Applications were read and approved for American Ag & Auto LLC. of Glen Elder for $171,500 for a 75 X 80 ft. building and Greg and Kim Cook for a $375,000 home in Logan Township in USD 273 District.

The meeting was adjourned for commissioners to canvass the vote returns for the city/school elections.

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