Commissioners Return Land Proceeds to Fire Department

For some time now the Mitchell County Commissioners have been discussing what to do with the building in Asherville formerly used by Mitchell County Fire District No. 1 to store their fire truck in. Now that their new facility is finished and houses the four or five trucks they have now, the district has no use for the old building. Farmway Coop Inc. recently offered to purchase the building and the land it sits on for $15,000.

Commissioner Tom Claussen reported at their meeting this morning that the land has been sold and suggested the money received in the sale be given back to Fire District No. 1 to use for their ongoing expenses of running the fire district.

Weda Duff and Floyd Melton, both residents of the Asherville area, originally donated the land to the fire district. The land was sold to Farmway Co-op Inc. at the agreed upon price of $15,000. The balance after administration fees were taken out was $14,645.50. The Commissioners voted unanimously to return the money to Fire District No. 1. Mitchell County Attorney, Mark J. Noah, brought the settlement page in for the commissioners to sign this morning and the transaction is complete.

The Commissioners commented on the great Memorial Day Events that took place this past weekend. Chairman Mike Cooper thanked the Beloit City employees and the cemetery crew for the fine job they did in making the city and the cemetery look beautiful.

Chairman Cooper announced they needed to appoint one of the Mitchell County Commissioners' to serve on the Mitchell County Public Building Committee and asked who would like to serve on that board. Commissioner Jim Marshall was appointed to that position.

Commissioner Claussen reminded everyone the Affordable Healthcare Act meeting with be held tomorrow night, Wednesday, May 29 at 5 p.m. in the Municipal Building meeting room. Although the deadline to register is past Claussen felt sure last minute reservations would be accepted if people would call the Extension Office at 785-738-3597 or stop in.

Larry Emerson, Public Works brought in evaluation forms for commissioners to sign from their recent K-Kamp/K-Works inspection. This was to get prepared for their upcoming inspection by the Kansas Department of Labor. Everything that needed to be corrected was a minor problem to be easily fixed.

The Kenworth representative notified Emerson they could be receiving their new tuck in the next 60 to 90 days and possibally by July 15. He plans to get the truck box ordered to go on the back of it. The road crew is doing some sanding on the Victor road and will plan to gravel it next fall. They will begin screening sand so they can make asphalt during harvest. There is a soft spot on Jasmine Trail that needs to be packed in. He plans to wait another week before they start the mowing, Emerson said.

Robbin Cole, Executive Director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, presented their 2014 budget to the commissioners. She thanked the commissioners for their past support and said she is not asking Mitchell County to increase their funding which has been $46,335 a year since 2008. The commissioners will make this funding decision when they make out the county budget in August.

Cole said Pawnee is celebrating its 55th anniversary of providing quality mental health and substance abuse treatment services in FY2012. While they paused for a moment to reflect on their accomplishments they saw indications of a future that looked very different from the past, Cole said.

Pawnee Mental Health is a private, not for profit service, that serves 10 counties in northwest Kansas including Clay, Cloud, Geary, Jewell, Marshall, Mitchell, Pottawatomie, Riley, and Washington County.

Cole introduced Mitchell County resident, Kathy Webster, who has been on the board for some time and was recently elected Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Board members and alternates are appointed to three-year terms by their respective county commissions. She also noted another Mitchell County resident, Joletta Moliter, has been named Supervisor of the Community Based Services program that works with adolescent children with serious emotional disturbances.

Since 2008 Pawnee Mental Health's budget has been cut by 65 percent. Governor Brownback recommended cutting this budget by another 1.2 million dollars; but after the Sandy Hook Incident the Governor increased the funding by 10 million dollars. Expectations are that half the 10 million dollars will come back to the local programs and they are not sure what will happen to the other five-million. The Governor is recommending cutting the Center for Family Services completely.

"The local program providers feel the impact of the cuts that come down from the State but we can't cut our services," Cole said. "This is the reason county funding is critical to maintain mental health services in the counties."

"We are having to change the way we provide services from the old way we did business," she said. "The new Kan-Care program affects a much larger group of Health Care Providers including law enforcement, hospitals and county commissions among others organizations. We can no longer provide unlimited services in managed cases and can only provide a limited number of personal hours per patient. The system has moved from a pay as you can basis to a pay as you go basis which eliminates care for some patients who need more care," Cole explained.

Cole especially thanked the Kansas Assn. of County Commissioners, of which Mitchell County is a member. She said this group are their chief allies in Topeka and are advocates for funds for the local mental health centers.

"The future promises to be very different from the past as Pawnee mental Health Services is preparing itself for a future of providing quality mental health and substance abuse services under both the Affordable Care Act and Kan Care," Cole told the Commissioners.

The Commissioners went into a Department Head Meeting immediately after adjourning their regular morning agenda.

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