The Mitchell County Commissioners dealt with a variety of items on their agenda at their regular Monday morning meeting. All three Commissioners were present.
Tom Deneke brought in a request to purchase more storage equipment for the Mitchell County Rescue Squad truck. Deneke said, at the present time they have two boxes on their newer 642 Ford truck and would like to stack these boxes and purchase two more to stack on the other side of the truck with a swinging door.
Deneke wants to have Kevin Watts at Watts Welding Co. at Brookville, KS build the new all aluminum boxes at a cost of $1,800 each or a total cost of $3,915 including an estimated seven hours of labor. They would plan to take the truck down in the morning and Watts would have the boxes done in one day. Commissioner Jim Marshall asked if their was any one locally who could do this work. Deneke said there wasn't anyone who specialized in this type of work. He has money in his budget to do this. The commissioners approved the purchase.
Deneke also thanked the City of Beloit for their generous donation of air pack units for their trucks. The squad has been trying to get these funded by Grants but had been unable to get them funded. Commissioner Tom Claussen, said this was great and it was really good to see the agencies of the county working together for the general good of everyone.
Larry Emerson, Public Works, brought in the two bids he received on mowing the 30 acres of brome grass along the ditches on county roads in the landfill area. He and the commissioners agreed they were surprised there weren't more people bidding with the shortage of hay in the county this year. Dean Grauerholz bid $41 per ton and Tom Deneke bid $53.75 per ton giving Deneke the contract to do the mowing.
Emerson said they received the results of the core-drilling test on the bridge on L Road, 1 mile west of 14, by Micah Tice's farm that he discussed last week. There is a two to three inch layer of limestone shale about 35 feet down in the ground. John Cashatt, engineer feels, they should be able to go on down to 40 feet to drive their bridge pilings and keep the bridge where it is now and go ahead and replace it. They will start this after harvest. The crew has been making some repairs and doing more mowing.
Ken Benedict contacted both Emerson and Commissioner Mike Cooper to asked if there would be a way to restore the bridge since it is an historical bridge with a laid up stone arch. Emerson said the bridge has narrow railings on it and a significant problem on the southwest corner. Engineer John Cashatt feels this would be a safety issue not to do the repair work. It will be a fifty-foot clear span bridge with 20 feet on the end of it. They can't put beams in the middle of the stream so they have to allow for this. Emerson said his crew was going to start making premix today depending on what the weather does. They will be working north of Solomon Rapids. They hope to be finished mowing the last of this week and still have the northeast part of the county and an area up by Glen Elder left to mow.
They are still expecting their new truck to be in around the middle of July or the first of August. There is a ditch on Heller's land north of Hunter that won't drain due to a fiber optic line the telephone company put right in the bottom of the ditch. The water won't do through it ditch. They will take care of the problem after Heller's finish harvest. Emerson discussed what they should do when they close a township road to do some work in LuLu Town. The road will have to be closed from six weeks to two months. The shortest route for people to go around isn't graveled and it would cost about a $1 a foot to gravel it for that short time at a total cost of $5,300. After discussion it was decided to wait and see what they weather does by that time. It won't be a problem if the road is dry.
Commissioner Marshall reminded all citizens to be aware that harvest has started and there are a lot of extra vehicles on the roads. He asked that people pay attention to trucks coming in and out of fields as they make wide turns. Marshall said this county is dependant on the farm economy so people should beware and avoid unfortunate accidents. Chairman Cooper said most local citizens are aware of this but most of the problem comes from people from outside the area who don't realize the slow pace the farm vehicles have to make. David Chase said, fireworks go on sale next week and caution is needed to prevent wheat field fires.
Commissioner Marshall read a Neighborhood Revitalization Application for a tax rebate from West Hampton Remodeling and Lumberyard in Glen Elder at a total cost of $125,000 for the remodel work. Commissioners approved the application.
Commissioner Cooper discussed the fact that there are to be no fireworks at the Waconda Lake this year. He said this issue stems from the recent Boston bombing
for some reason. The Core of Engineers is all right with the fireworks but the Bureau is not cooperating.
Commissioner Claussen remarked that people are having trouble finding houses to rent in Beloit but he and his wife counted eleven homes within a small area that were for sale or rent. Heather Hartman, Economic Development Director, said it is surprising people say they can't find rental properties as there are 190 homes available at the present time. Hartman discussed the 2004 Housing Rehabilitation Grant Program she presented to the Beloit City Council at their last meeting and said they hope to clear up some houses when this grant.
This program consists of housing rehabilitation, reconstruction, code enforcement and demolition of housing units. The maximum grant for this year for Mitchell County is $400,000 including professional services. The applications for Housing are due by August 29th and awards will be made on January 15, 2014. She hopes to publish the Public Hearing Notice in mid July and hold the Public Hearing during the August 6 Council meeting.
Hartman feels there are a lot of homeowners and landlords in this community who can benefit from this program and is encouraging people to look into what these funds can be used for. To be eligible to participate in the housing rehabilitation program you must be income qualified with low to moderate income and provide proof of your income. If the home is a rental, both the tenant and landlord must sign the pre-application and submit income information. Only the tenant MUST be income eligible. If the landlord is NOT income eligible they will be required to provide 25 percent of the rehabilitation grant with a maximum match of $25,000. Moderate income in Mitchell County is $33,000. The last time the county did this grant was 1980. They are spreading the funds out more with this grant and allowing more people to participate.
Hartman said she has already received some applications both for reconstruction and demolition projects. She encourages people to visit with her about this and fill out the application forms. Anyone interested in this should contact her at her office, she said. She hopes to get the applications out to people and see how much interest there is in the program.
Carol Miller brought in the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) budget request for the coming year. Their costs have done up essentially since they opened up a Child Advocate Center (CAC) in the basement of their Concordia office where they conduct child abuse investigations. Twenty-six or one quarter of their total cases come from Mitchell County. They hope to get grant funds to be able to continue this work. Miller asked to increase their budget from $10,000 up to $12,000. It costs about $400 per child. Miller said she is extremely impressed with Judge Wright since she took office and that Wright does an extraordinary job. She knows how the Child Welfare System works and how to recognize problems, Miller said. The Commissioners will consider this budget when they do their yearly budget planning.
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