County Attorney Noah Asks for Direction

What began as a short uncomplicated agenda for the Mitchell County Commissioners at their Monday morning meeting with an unscheduled visit from Mitchell County Attorney Mark J. Noah. Noah came in to request what he called input and direction from the commissioners as to what he should do concerning Mitchell County's reaction to Governor Brownback's signing House Bill 2052 into law.

Attorney Noah told the Commissioners this is a time sensitive issue since the new law goes into effect on July 1, 2013. He will have to get this done right away if they want to do it. He said this is an unfunded mandate that will put considerable expense on the individual counties. An exemption can be requested for a short period of time but he would have to get this done and send a letter to the Kansas Attorney General by July 1. Jewell and Cloud County have already applied for an exemption for 6 months until January 2014. More steps would have to be taken to receive a four-year exemption from this law.

This law requires government and public buildings that prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense must screen all visitors for weapons. This would
ensure that all individuals who enter the buildings are disarmed, not just the law-abiding citizens who choose to follow the law. If the building lacks the adequate security measures necessary to screen all visitors, then residents with a concealed carry license would be allowed to carry a firearm to protect themselves while visiting this type of buildings.

Attorney Noah's concern is he that will have to obtain legal descriptions of all building that fall under this law and list reasons for each building to be exempt which will take time. He will also have to make a statement and provide a security plan. This would include the Mitchell County Court House, the Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems, the Beloit Medical Clinic, the Emergency Medical Services buildings, the Mitchell County Law Enforcement building, the Rural Fire District Buildings, the highway department buildings, the weed department, the landfill building, as well as, other buildings within the county.

If a person has a concealed carry permit they have had to have an extensive background check to get it so they would be pretty safe. However, if some lunatic wants to bring a gun into the courthouse they will. These are the people that can hurt you, Noah said.

Judges have taken the position of control for the courthouse. The floor that would be the most venerable would be the top floor where the courtroom is located, Noah said. Both he and the Judges would have the right to limit access to the top floor of the courthouse when court is in session if they deem it necessary. He doesn't see a major problem with things as they are now. There is usually a jailer and several law enforcement officers there on court day anyway and Sheriff Daugherty or Police Chief Odle can get there pretty fast if they are needed.

Several of those present made suggestions as to what could be done. County Clerk Chris Treaster said, most of the people who work in the courthouse offices are women and they have had problems from time to time with angry people acting out. They call Brian Streit, Maintenance Supervisor, to come in and people usually quiet down when that happens. If not they have buttons they can push to call in law enforcement. Chairman Mike Cooper said he felt they should just let sleeping dogs lie for the present time. Attorney Noah will look into the situation further and get back to the commissioners.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, asked commissioners if they were interested in taking mowing bids for the ditches. There is about 30 acres total to be mowed. People have been asking him about this. The season is just starting for brome and this should make pretty good hay. Commissioners agreed on this action and Emerson will put an ad in they paper today.

Emerson brought in a quote for a new box for their new dump truck from Mid-West Truck and Equipment, Wichita, which is the only company in Kansas that does this type of work. This will be a steel box painted and installed at a cost of $19,168. The truck won't be here until the middle of July. The commissioners moved to purchase this box for the new truck.

Emerson asked about the bridge on L Road, 1 mile west of 14, by Micah Tice's farm. It is in bad shape and gets a lot of heavy traffic. A company is available to do core drilling on the bridge this week. They would drill 35 to 40 feet deep from top of road. According to John Cashatt, if it isn't possible to drill through rock in this area then they would have to move the bridge to the east a little bit. The cost to core drill that area is $1,800. Commissioner agreed to this action.

Emerson also brought in grant information that can be used on Federal Land, as researched by Engineer John Cashatt. They could use this around the Causeway Bridge at the Waconda Lake. Cashatt checked on it and thinks it applies to anything that has to do with safety on roads like that so it might cover the much-needed new guardrails too. It would cover 800 feet on both sides of the road on all four corners of the bridge. Cashatt has the application ready to send in if the commissioners want to apply. The total cost would be $238,000. There is no guarantee they will receive the grant but all agreed they should apply for it. It was felt they would have a better chance of getting the grant if the county makes an offer for matching funds from the minimum required but not to exceed 20 percent of the cost. The commissioners approved the action.

July is the month action has to be taken if the commissioners want to change the charges at the Mitchell County Landfill. Commissioners did not change the charges last year and after discussion decided to leave the charges as they are now for the coming year as there is $216,000 balance in that fund at the present time. New equipment might be needed next year so they would need to raise the charges at that time. Emerson handed in his budget for his department. When asked about roads, Emerson said overall the gravel on the roads is pretty good but with summer the traffic on them will be heavier.

Ed Debesis, EMS Director, gave his May report. They had 46 ambulance runs for the month, which is 10 above last year at this time, and 245 runs so far this year. They are still having problems at the Cawker Station and people shouldn't do that. His biggest worry is that they will bring someone in instead of calling 911 and no one will be on duty. This added amount of time before assistance could get there could cost someone's life, he said.

Debesis wanted commissioners to know about an incident that happened a mile north of Delphos the other day when an ambulance broke down as they were taking a patient to Wichita. He got a call later wanting to know why he called Bennington instead of Minneapolis. Debesis explained he called Bennington instead of Minneapolis because he knew they didn't have a paramedic on duty at that time because that person was helping out Mitchell County.

They sold the used power cot they had for sale to the Trego County EMS for $700 and some other equipment for $500 and some of this will go the Phillips for the new equipment they purchased. Debesis said their two Airway Manikins are in bad shape and asked to purchase new ones. He has money in his budget so was allowed to make the purchase. Debesis handed in the EMS 2014 Budget and said most of the increase is in salaries and wages. He also asked about replacing the furnace and air conditioning down the road. He is having problems filling an empty paramedic position. Chairman Cooper suggested he hire another EMT to help take some the load off of him and Janet Dameron until a paramedic can be found.

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