Commissioners Want Answers to Jail Meals Issue

The Mitchell County Commissioners told Mitchell County Sheriff, Doug Daugherty at their meeting this morning the high cost of meals for inmates at the Law Enforcement Center has to stop and they want answers.

Daugherty discussed the cost of the cost of the meals as fixed by the Mitchell County Hospital Dietary Department in the past. He said their were over 800 meals purchased from the hospital during the month of July amounting to a total of $18,360.80 which comes to about $22 a day per inmate. Sheriff Daugherty said he did not realize the hospital was going to stop providing meals as soon as they actually did it. Chairman Mike Cooper reminded him they had been sending him letters for some time explaining they had to stop since this was affecting their Medicare reimbursement payments.

Daugherty said he visited with Hospital Administrator, David Dick, about this situation and appreciated Dick's input on this problem. Sheriff Daugherty shared figures on how much it would cost to add an attached kitchenette on to the jail structure itself. Chairman Cooper said based on the cost of assets and the savings on the meals this would take a long time to make that pay off.

Commissioner Tom Claussen said he is really disappointed in Daugherty and the fact that he hasn't taken care of this problem a long time ago as it has been going on for two and one-half years now. "We are in a downward spiral and we need to take care of this problem as soon as possible. Maybe we should stop accepting out of county inmates. It sounds to me like we would be better off just accepting prisoners from within our own county."

Chairman Cooper said, "Lets get busy and get this going in this next month. We will be meeting with a representative from Consolidated Food Service on September 9, and we have several different possible facilities to look at then. Commissioner Jim Marshall added," We have to get some answers here because this is costing the county too much money. The prisoners might have to be served dry cereal for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch and buy frozen Pizza's for their evening meal like the rest of us. This might be simplistic but I doubt they were eating this well before they came in and we just can't keep this up." Sheriff Daugherty said they have to provide for all the different diets and health problems these people have. Marshall said, "O.K, so we will have both ham and turkey sandwiches. Commissioner Claussen said, "As it is we are furnishing them three square meals a day and T.V. privilages in a climate controlled building." Chairman Cooper told Daugherty, "This is a money losing deal for the hospital and for us, now its time do something about it."

Opening the bids on the tax sale properties that were advertised for sale was next on the agenda. Chairman Cooper said only one bid was received on two parcels of land. Mitchell County Attorney Mark Noah was present for the bid opening. The bid came from Jerry Pahls who bid $51.01 on the land. Noah said this is the property on 8th Street that is just next to the property Pahls presently owns. He said if they wanted his opinion they should let it go for this as the county will have to pay the taxes on it and would have to keep it mowed if they keep it. Commissioner's approved the sale and asked Noah to draw up the deed. The second parcel of land is located in Simpson and Attorney Noah suggested they donate it back to the city. Noah is to contact the Simpson Mayor and see if they would accept this land before they approve the donation.

Commissioner Marshall asked Noah's input on the jail situation. Attorney Noah discussed how he tries to get some of this money back by assessing a jail fee for the prisoners. He explained how this fee works and what he can and cannot do about collecting it. He is doing all he can to off set the costs involved.

Chairman Cooper announced that Stan Deneke has been chosen to take over Dan Streit's position as County Weed Supervisor effective January 1, 2014. There were six good candidates and all but one lives in this county but they had to choose one and Stan is it.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, and John Cashatt, County Engineer, discussed what needs to be done before they can decide what to do about the 20 ft. Stone Arch Bridge located on L Road, one mile west off Highway 14 since it is listed by the Kansas Historical Society as a historic bridge. Cashatt, talked to the Corp. of Engineers and also the State about this. The county will have to go through a step by step process and convince these two entities the bridge can't be repaired and there is no way to go around it. The county will also have to designate another bridge of similar structure within the county to replace this one on the Historical Register. Cashatt suggested several bridges he feels would be in good enough shape to warrant doing that. The process will take six months to get through so nothing can be done to the bridge yet this year.

Cashatt discussed the county passing a proclamation, or memorandum of understanding, listing four or five bridges that they will agree to maintain to the best of their ability and that would leave the other bridges free to do what needs to be done with getting permission. Emerson said there are about 240 20-foot span bridges in the county. Chairman Cooper authorized Cashatt to go ahead and get the necessary data to close this bridge and set up the memorandum of understanding.

Emerson said the bridge crew poured the footings on the north side of the bridge up by Schmidt's. They had to pump the water out to pour the concrete. They are finishing the asphalt on Jasmine Trail and will be working on the overlay on four miles of road up by Scottsville. The inspector from the State came to do an inspection and he was happy to report there were had no serious problems sited. Commissioner Marshall was present at that time and said the inspector was very impressed. She said this was the cleanest facility she had seen as of yet. They are still waiting for the dump truck body to come in. He hopes to have more information by next week.

Ed Debesis, told Commissioners he wants to hire a new paramedic who lives in Enterprise if they would give their approval. County Policy states employees have to live within one county outside Mitchell County. After discussion Commissioners approved this hire since paramedics are so hard to find and EMS has to have one on board each ambulance. He will start this coming Thursday and work two 12 hours a week. Debesis hasn't heard anything about the new Ambulance that has been in the shop most of the six-months it has been in service. He talked to someone who will try to get the county reimbursed for the six months expenses time loss on the ambulance. The problem still isn't fixed and it would be a safety liability to use it as it is, he said.

Neighborhood Revitalization Applications were approved for TEC Empire LLC, for Chad Thompson to build an eye-care center at 124 N. Mill in the amount of $997,998 and Crop Production Services Inc. for a new facility in the amount of $938,468.

Kathy Webster and Sharon Treaster, brought in a proclamation for Pawnee Mental Health for commissioners to sign designating September as Substance Abuse and Recovery month. They stressed these are treatable conditions. Pawnee has a program that covers this called "Mental Health First Aide." It is a one-day 8-hour class for adults and there is also a class for children. The ladies thanked commissioners for their support.

The Commissioners will be meeting on Tuesday, September 3, next week due to Labor Day on Monday.

Other News

Like us on Facebook! Job Hub