Business As Usual For County Commissioners

It was business as usual for the Mitchell County Commissioners at their regular Monday morning meeting. It was a full agenda but relatively simple after some of the problems they have dealt with recently.

Dan Streit, Noxious Weed Department supervisor, who is retiring at the first of the year after 41 years of service to the county brought in job applications for the commissioners to review. The commissioners called a 15-minute executive session with Streit and County Clerk, Chris Treaster present. Chairman Mike Cooper announced after the meeting that no decisions were made during that time.

Ed Debesis, EMS, gave his report for the month of June. User fees charged out were $44,181.00 of which $33,689.59 was collected and $11,760.57 written off. They made 49 ambulance runs for the year to date, which is about the same as last year at this time. A total of 294 runs were made for the year of 2012.

Commissioner Tom Claussen asked what is going on with the new ambulance that was giving them trouble as of last week. Debesis said he has taken it totally out of service as of last Thursday until it is fixed and is reactivating the license on an older truck to use in the mean time at a cost of $40. Debesis said Beloit Motor Co. has done all they can do to the truck until Chevy says they can do anything else. They are doing this as a favor to the county since they are not actually a Chevy dealer but have the company's permission to service it. "I think as long as the EMS Board will let us re-licence the old truck they will be all right for now," Debesis said. Claussen suggested Debesis talk to County Attorney Mark Noah about drawing up a letter to send to Chevy requesting a new motor for the unit.

Commissioner Jim Marshall said "Folks, this is an ambulance not a luxury vehicle and the county needs this vehicle to work. The way it is we can't trust it. We need to get this addressed because this could be a severe situation. We are putting our patients and ourselves in jeopardy. This ambulance is only three or four months old. Tell them we want reimbursed for every day it is out of service." It was agreed this might get their attention.

County Clerk Chris Treaster added this is our liability not Chevy's we are talking about and we could counter sue them if someone sues us. Getting a rental ambulance from Chevy was discussed but not found to be feasible. Debesis is to talk to Attorney Noah about sending a letter to Chevrolet's Department of Consumer Affairs. It was decided they could also get the K-Camp Insurance lawyers involved if necessary. The Commissioners told Debesis to be sure Beloit Motors knows the county has no problem with them or what they are doing in this situation.

The Commissioners approved Resolution 4-13, an official document naming Glenda Latham as the new Mitchell County Appraiser so she can send the document in to the State Appraiser's Office in Topeka.

Chairman Cooper reminded the other commissioners Judge Kim Cudney, Chief Judge of the 12th Judicial District has called a meeting of everyone involved in the Judicial System in this district on Monday, July 15, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Cloud County Courtroom in Concordia to discuss plans for the new concealed carry laws.
Chairman Cooper said the Kansas Attorney General did extend this counties right not to allow concealed carry in the Mitchell County Court House and other county property's through January 2014.

Mitchell County Sheriff Doug Daugherty and Officer Gerri McCune met with commissioners to discuss future plans for the meals for inmates at the Mitchell County Jail. Sheriff Daugherty received a letter from Mitchell County Hospital Administrator, David Dick explaining why that facility will no longer be able to prepare meals for the jail unless they raised the cost from $11 to $22 a day. Daugherty called the hospital's Financial Officer, Eldon Koepke, to ask for justification as to why the meals went up so high. Koepke explained this was cutting into the hospitals Critical Access Hospital reimbursement they received back from Medicare so they can't afford to continue with this service. The hospital will continue to work with the sheriff's department until they get something else in place to do this.

Officer McCune said, they have to work with dietary requirements and this makes it quite a mess to comply with State and Federal mandates. Inmates have to fill out a medical form when they come in and list what foods they are allergic to. They never know if the people are being truthful or making this up. They have prisoners who are diabetic or on other special diets. The requirements say they have to be fed the same type of foods they had before they were incarcerated. This is going to be a long-term problem, she said.

McCune has talked to several food companies. She quoted Consolidated Foods Co. and feels they offer the plan that would work best for the jail. They furnish all the food and the help to run it using meal trays to serve on. The county would have to furnish the kitchen facilities. At the present time there are 26 inmates in the jail and this is a lot more this year than last year. At the present time the hospital charges $8.26 a day for meals. If they had to go up to $22 a day this would be a $500 a day savings.

Daugherty and McCune explained why it would be much easier to have a kitchen at the jail facilities than down town in the old LEC Building. Presently an officer goes to the hospital kitchen and brings back the meals. Chairman Cooper asked if they could negotiate with the food company to serve in Styrofoam containers instead of trays. He feels the officers have better things to do than wash dishes. Daugherty said it cuts down on security when officers have to deal with food service.

Chairman Cooper asked the officers to set up an appointment for representatives from the food company to come in to talk to the commissioners during their regular July 29 meeting. "We have to explore all of the possibilities because I think you will have a pretty hard sell to get the commissioners to fund a new kitchen facility at the jail." Commissioner Marshall said, "This isn't the Waldorf Astoria folks. We just need something that is affordable and come up with a food preparation area of some kind." Several areas to do this were discussed but no decisions were made.

Becky Schaefer, Dispatch & Communications, came in with two bids for her office computer that were very close in price. Since she does do mapping on this computer she priced a Hewlett Packard tower for $829. This along with the software for Windows 7, monitor with labor included would be $2,017.14. Chairman Cooper said she researched this very well. The commissioners approved the purchase.

Yvonne Melton, County Treasurer, visited with commissioners about non-elected personnel in a 15-minute executive meeting that was extended 10 more minutes. No decisions were made.

Commissioner Claussen thanked the Waconda Fireworks Committee for the really good display they had at Waconda Lake Saturday night. There was a large crowd and they all really enjoyed it. He hopes they will be able to do it again next year.

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