Commissioners Move Ahead With Jail Kitchen

Mitchell County Commissioners met with Sheriff Doug Daugherty and Officer Geri McCune at their weekly meeting this morning to discuss where things stand with Consolidated Foods Inc. as far as the status of the kitchen plans for the Mitchell County Jail to be housed in the former Law Enforcement Center.

Chairman Mike Cooper and Commissioners Tom Claussen and Jim Marshall asked questions about the proposed contract with the food company and the list of necessary equipment list for the kitchen which has changed several times.

The commissioners are all very impressed with the job Maintenance Supervisor Brian Streit is doing with the area designated for the new kitchen. Brian has had some concerns about space for the stove hood and the refrigerator but this has been worked out.

Sheriff Daugherty said, County Attorney, Mark Noah, has looked over the kitchen contract and the only concern he has expressed is the part that says it meets the Iowa State Code where it needs to say Kansas State Code. Although the Iowa Code is stricter than the Kansas Code it still needs to say Kansas Code. Daugherty called the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Office about inspections and was told to call the Department of Agriculture but they referred him back to KDHE so he doesn't think they are very worried about it. Heather Hartman, Economic Development Director, was present at the meeting and has a contact with the person who would do the inspection. She will call her about doing a pre-inspection.

The Sheriff said he thinks things will move fairly fast once the company gets the signed contract. Then they can start getting their people hired and trained for the job. Chairman Cooper said this isn't really something the commissioners need to sign. It is really a contract between the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department and Consolidated Foods. Commissioner Claussen agreed but said they all share the responsibility to see that this works out. The company does need a promissory note back to them on the repayment plan for the equipment.

Daugherty said right now they have an average of 21 inmates a day on up to 35 tops. They do have more people in the winter who just want to get into a warm place with good food where they don't have to do anything so that is unpredictable and always a problem. One thing he has found out is that you can't put two people of different nationalities together because it just doesn't work. They get $30 a day for each inmate and have a total capacity of 42.

Commissioner Claussen asked if Daugherty thinks the new Concordia facility will cut down on the inmates this facility will get from Saline County. The one thing Salina likes about this facility is the separate female section this jail has, he said and they are well pleased with the facility as a whole. Right now he is working on a contract with the Wichita Law Enforcement Center too and is hopeful that will work out.

Commissioner Marshall asked if Consolidated Foods will be running the kitchen at the new Concordia facility and no one knew for sure. Commissioner Claussen said for Sheriff Daugherty to let them know if the food didn't show up on time after the kitchen was in and they would do something about it.

Commissioner Cooper made a proposal that the commissioners give the Sheriffs Department the right to proceed with the contract as written. Commissioner Marshall said, " I am not happy with the fact that they were not able to get someone locally to do the food or that the county is having to lay out that kind of money not knowing for sure what is going to happen for sure but it is what it is and I will go along with it." The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the contract.

Chairman Cooper said, it might not be the best situation financially but will cost a lot less than it does now for meals now and it is best for the convenience of all concerned. Commissioner Claussen said, "We need to get going on this as soon as possible to save the county money. I have had nothing but positive feedback from people on this." The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the contract.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, and John Cashatt, County Engineer, came to the meeting to discuss the status of progress with the Kansas Historical Society and the Core of Engineers on the stone arch bridge out by Micah Tice's farm. Cashatt said he submitted the information about the bridge last week. He sent the three locations of the options the county would agree to turn over to the Historical Society in place of the stone arch bridge. These included the bridge by Ron Heller's farm, which is in good shape and not a highly traveled road. Also, the bridge four miles east of Hunter, 1 ½ miles north and 4 ½ miles east of the Victor Road in Blue Hill Township and the bridge west of Mark Beam's farm which is in excellent condition.

The Corp of Engineers put this information out for public meeting notice and if it passes the Corp of Engineers, the Kansas Historical Society and the Mitchell County Commissioners have to agree to it in a Memorandum of Understanding. Once that is submitted back to the Historical Society they have to agree to it and then the Corp of engineers becomes responsible for the three bridges.

Commissioner Claussen asked what would happen if one of these bridges becomes a problem since there aren't stonemasons around like there was when these bridges were built. Cashatt said there are still some people who can do that work including Dennis Cross of Sylvan Grove and the Stillwell Brothers of Scottsville.

Chairman Cooper asked why since none of these bridges are currently on the Historical Society's Register they have the right to have so much to say about this. Cashatt answered they have records way back on these bridges and they give the Corp the right to have the jurisdiction over them. Ten of the thirty days necessary have passed since the issuance of the notice. He is not sure how long a decision will take after that.

Emerson said his department started working on striping the roads up by Scottsville and still have the ones up by Gilbert Station yet to do. In the future they will have to think about getting a different stripper machine or hire a contractor to do it. He doesn't know how the two would compare price wise since they only use the stripper one or two times a year. The new truck body finally came in and they took the truck to the company to have it put on last week. The bridge crew is putting the beams on the bridge out at Schmitt's today so they are pretty close to finishing that bridge up.

Chairman Cooper had a call about a wash out on the east bridge of two bridges on K Road. This is a township road located one mile off of Highway 13. The person calling feels there is a dangerous drop off there. Emerson will look at it to see what needs to be done.

County Clerk Treaster said she is working on her 2014 calendar and discussed closing the courthouse at noon on Christmas Eve so employees can be with families and this was agreed upon. Treaster said they give up time off on Columbus Day so they can have the day before Thanksgiving off. Closing on Martin Luther King Day was discussed. This was decided by a two to one vote that the courthouse should be closed that day although it hasn't been in the past.

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