Commissioners Discuss Indigent Burial Resolution

The Mitchell County Commissioners met for their regular weekly meeting Monday morning. Chairman Mike Cooper and Commissioners Tom Claussen and Jim Marshall were all present.

County Clerk, Chris Treaster, presented a Resolution to deal with the Indigent Burial incidents that Commissioners discussed with Phil Roberts of the McDonald-Roberts Funeral Home at last weeks meeting. They agreed at that time that in the event someone dies and is brought in to a funeral home in the county, with no known relatives or means to pay for the burial costs, the county would pay up to $750 of the costs.

This morning, however, commissioners added several conditions to the resolution. If the funeral home applies for help from the county on burial expenses they should send a bill or letter asking to receive the money. They also added a provision that if the person's family shows up at anytime in the future and are financially able to cover these costs they would be expected to do so. Treaster is to add these conditions to the resolution and bring back to be signed at the October 7, 2013 meeting.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, reported he called the truck company in Wichita where they are having a dump truck bed added to the new truck they recently purchased three times this past week and they have never called him back. He explained that this leaves his crews short one truck and asked them to call him back. They have never gotten back to him and this is getting to be a really sore subject with him. They had never had trouble when Melton Motors in Belleville had the dealership but the Wichita firm had it fixed so they are the only company in Kansas allowed to sell this project.

Emerson said they are still sealing the roads around the county. They are finished with Jasmine Trail but have other roads including the Gilbert Station Road up by Scottsville and other roads on to the west to do. Commissioner Marshall said he has received good feed back from people in his district about this. Emerson has received the permit for the Tice Bridge, which will be good from now to July 2017, and an extension can be gotten if the work is not all done by that time. He is still waiting on Engineer John Cashatt to get the list of bridges in the county to him so they probably won't start on that bridge until next year. The water has been pumped out of the creek under the Schmidt Bridge and his crew is working on it now.

Chairman Cooper discussed last weeks meeting with people involved in the situation with the Beloit Township road since Emerson wasn't present at the meeting. Cooper said he would like to have the county reimburse Eva Jean Chase for $300 on the survey she had done on the part of that road that county commissioners had agreed to do thirty years ago and never had done. He said this would fulfill the county's obligation in the matter. The commissioners voted to approve that payment. Commissioner Claussen said people involved just have to understand that this is an issue for the township to resolve and the commission just couldn't take a stand on it. This disagreement has been going on for a long time but the law says you just can't land lock anyone out of their property. All agreed they were afraid this would end up in court before it could ever be settled.

During their work session, Commissioner Marshall asked if the chairman had heard from Consolidated Foods since he understood they were to bring contracts back
by this morning's meeting. Cooper has talked to Scott Garrett, project manager and he is to be here tomorrow at 1 p.m. and talk to them about this.

Commissioner Marshall said he is still disappointed that the Sheriff's Department, and the County Commissioners including himself for not doing anything about this situation sooner. Marshall read an article that says we are treating prisoners better than we are senior citizens. He listed other counties that are feeding prisoners for a lot less than this county has been and not breaking their counties to do it.

Marshall also feels they should have been able to find local people who would have taken this job on instead of giving the job to an out of state company. He feels they have let the people of the county down and it is hard for him to swallow paying out county money on this especially having to buy $42,000 worth of equipment and sign a five-year contract. "On top of that the county had to pay $5,000 last month for legal fees for the prisoners plus provide medical care at no charge to the inmates if needed. "I am getting a lot of feedback from people. Where is the common sense in all this?" Marshall asked.

Chairman Cooper said while he agreed with Marshall a lot of this is mandated by State and Federal Agencies so they have to do it. As to why it wouldn't work to have Catlin's Market or Pizza Hut provide the meals this has to be three meals a day that have to be delivered 365 days a year. Cooper said, this has been going on for three years and should have been taken care of then. The other commissioners agreed they should have thought about adding a kitchen when the new jail was built but there was no problem with the hospital providing the meals at that time. They hope to have this problem settled in the near future.

Chairman Cooper talked to State Representative, Susan Concannon. She and other area legislators are working on setting up a meeting for Commissioners from several counties in the area to meet with the Kansas Attorney General in Concordia to discuss the Concealed Carry Regulations. "She says this doesn't have to be as complicated as everyone is trying to make it," he said.

Commissioner Claussen reminded the other commissioners of the Hospital Board of Trustees meeting at 5 p.m. today. He said there is a North Central Kansas Health Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the north dining room at the hospital.

Commissioner Marshall said he attended the meeting of a County Health Group called the NCK AWARE Association, (which stands for Action, Wellness, Awareness Recreation and Engagement). Doug McKinney, of the North Central Kansas Planning Commission, spoke and also Dr. Craig Concannon. This group is very active in getting grants and planning other things to help the people of this county. They sent out 500 questionnaires to people and only got back about 30 percent.

Commissioner Claussen and Heather Hartman, Community Development Director attended a meeting put on by AGCO Corporation. This included a live presentation of their production assembly and a video of their new facility. They also outlined their strategic plans for the upcoming year. They have 470 employees at the present time and have openings for 35 more jobs right now. They are shooting for 500 employees in the near future. The biggest problem is finding housing for people in Beloit. They draw employees from a large area and this is good for Mitchell County, Hartman said.

Commissioner Claussen also mentioned the retirement of Deanna Sweat, Family Consumer Science person for Post Rock Extension Office retired Sept. 19 and they are advertising for a replacement for that position. Also, Jan Slate retired Sept. 20 from the County Clerks Office after 20 years in that job. Christy Hillman has taken her place and someone has been hired to take Hillman's place in the County Treasurers Office.

There will be no weekly meeting of the Mitchell County Commissioners on Monday, September 29, since this will be the fifth Monday of the month. The next scheduled meeting will be Monday, October 7.

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