The Mitchell County Commissioners, Chairman Jim Marshall and Commissioner Tom Claussen, met with Mitchell County Magistrate Judge, Debra Wright, Mitchell County Attorney Mark J. Noah, and Mitchell County Sheriff, Douglas Daugherty in a 15-minute executive session to discuss security in the magistrate court. The meeting was extended for ten more minutes. Mitchell County Clerk, Chris Treaster was also present for the meeting. Following the meeting Chairman Marshall announced no decisions were make during that time.
Earlier in the meeting Commissioner Claussen questioned why this meeting needed to be held in an executive setting. He did not see a reason not to share this information with the public and the media but Attorney Noah assured him this needed to be kept quiet until the security plan is worked out. It should be remembered most of this courts sessions are held in the Beloit City Council chambers in the Beloit Municipal Building or in the side room of the District Court room.
Attorney Noah said the three of them might come back to the Commissioners to announce their decision and the public and the media could be brought up to date on the security plan at that time.
County Clerk Treaster reported on her meeting with the current Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, who is running for re-election, when he stopped by her office last week. Kobach toured the Mitchell County Courthouse, climbing clear up to the bell tower with Maintenance Supervisor, Brian Streit. Kovach was impressed with the building and said he likes this part of the State.
Kobach, has drawn opposition partly because of this efforts in Kansas and beyond in an effort to crack down on undocumented illegal immigrants. In the past he Kansas secretary of state has mostly overseen elections and is the chief bookkeeper of State business records. Kovach has pressed for laws requiring voter ID at the polls and proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Treaster said Kobach was impressed with her preparation for exchanging the county's voting equipment and keeping it up to date. She thanked the commissioners for allowing her to spend money to do this and said she feels it is pretty productive to do so.
Treaster also reported on her trip to Topeka last week where she toured the newly decorated State Capitol. She saw the new floor showing maps of each Kansas County and stood on Mitchell County's tile. She also had her picture taken with Governor Sam Brownback who came out to that area and had his picture with each of the County Clerks that were present.
Commissioner Claussen announced the good news that the Mitchell County has received a rebate check from Blue Cross-Blue Shield Insurance for the second year in a row. The check in the amount of $61,089.49 is for what he called "good stewardship" for the year 2013 since the employees have stayed well and have not had to make a lot of large claims. Chairman Marshall asked Clerk Treaster how much the rebate amounts have benefited the county during 2012-2014. She said this check coupled with last year saved the county close to one-half mill plus the employee premiums have went down the last two years.
Larry Emerson, Public Works, said his department is ready for the large snowstorm predicted for this Tuesday. They went out and treated the county roads in Asherville, Simpson and Hunter areas. Emerson said Scott Hartman has been watching for a Case excavator for the county and has located a 2012 model in Wichita with only 1000 miles on it. It weighs 48,000 lbs., which is a little heavier than the machine they presently have. Hartman is also looking for a tamper and a hydraulic boom that will fit on this machine and a lowboy trailer that would fit their needs. He will let them know the price of this equipment when he gets the offer all together. Emerson hasn't heard anything back from Casey Fraser yet.
They took their new truck to Salina to have the Detroit Diesel Alison Motor transmission reset. They have to have this truck back right away, as it is their main snowplow unit. They have had good luck with all their equipment starting this year, Emerson said.
Stan Deneke, new Noxious Weed Department Supervisor, brought in their annual report for commissioners to sign. He needs to get this in the mail to the state by February 15th. Deneke said he is talking to Dan Streit, former supervisor whenever he has a question. He asked about what he should do if Chairman Marshall decides the weather is bad enough to close down the courthouse. Being new in office Marshall also had questions as to how this procedure works. Clerk Treaster explained how this works.
Judge Wright was present for this discussion and was asked by Commissioner Claussen what her Tuesday court schedule is and how this would affect her if the courthouse were shut down. The Judge said Tuesday's are usually her heavy docket day but if this happens she would just have to re-schedule and deal with it to provide safety for people traveling that day.
Deneke said he has passed all his tests dealing with his new job and is now fully accredited for this position. He has been working on updating his equipment and attended a seminar recently on the use of new chemicals that are now available. While they may cost a little more he feels the same chemicals have been used and the weeds have become resistant to them. He mentioned the weeds at the fair grounds and said he needs something to use on them. He has purchased fertilizer and chemicals for the courthouse and will store them until them are needed. Deneke discussed pine trees and the pine tree beetles that have taken these trees over. Nothing can be done once these trees are infected, as there are no effective sprays to stop this diseased. Native pines are immune to this disease, Deneke said.
Commissioner Claussen read a Neighborhood Revitalization application for Luke W. Hansen for an 80 X 120 X 16 post frame building with concrete floor to be built in USD 273 at a cost of $ 61,089.49. The application was approved.
After a short discussion with Sheriff Daugherty, Commissioner Claussen announced there will be a Defensive Driving Course on March 13, in the Commission Room in the courthouse at 1 p.m. The course will be given to the Road and Bridge Crew at 8 a.m. on March 14. This course is offered by K-Works of Kansas in four one-hour sessions.
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