Mitchell County Commissioners Meeting
Monday, July 28, 2014
by Terry Bailey
The Mitchell County Commissioners met yesterday morning for their regular weekly meeting. All three Commissioners were in attendance. They moved through a light agenda during their regular meeting and then adjourned to a work session. It was in the work session where the bulk of time and effort was spent.
To open the regular meeting, Commission Chairperson Jim Marshall read and then distributed a Thank You card from the Kansas Children’s Service League. The League sponsored a state-wide Prevent Child Abuse program which was funded by various counties throughout Kansas. The Mitchell County Convention and Tourism Board had made a thousand dollar contribution to the Prevent Child Abuse program in the name of Mitchell County. The money for this donation was made possible by way of the Transient Guest Tax collected in Mitchell County.
Next on the agenda was Larry Emerson, Public Works Superintendent. Emerson said his crews had begun overlay work on West Main and had completed one-half mile the first day. He expects the crew to overlay a full mile each day.
The “new guy,” Brian Thorne, who was hired two weeks ago is getting along “real well” and is fitting in with the crew with no problems.
Emerson then announced that the Tice Bridge would be open Monday (yesterday) afternoon or Tuesday (today) depending on getting the guard rails installed. The elapsed time on the project was eleven weeks.
Emerson then asked for a twenty minute executive session to discuss non elected personnel. When the regular meeting resumed, it was announced no action had been taken.
Commissioner Marshall said there were two road problem areas he would like to bring to Emerson’s attention. One problem area was about two miles north of Hunter where the asphalt turns to gravel. It is very rough at that point and he had had several citizens request that something be done to make that transition easier to manage.
The second problem spot was on the blacktop north of Tipton. A recent accident had left deep gouges in the pavement. These present no problems for cars and trucks, but they create big problems for motorcycles. Marshall was particularly concerned with the motorcycle rally in conjunction with the Tipton Picnic problems might arise. Emerson said while they were very busy he would see what could be done for safety’s sake.
Cortney Murrow, Mitchell County Health Nurse, made a brief appearance to have the Commissioners sign a document formalizing the new “On Call” compensation agreement.
Sheriff Doug Daugherty and Officer Jerri McCune appeared before the Commissioners and requested a 15 minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. When the meeting resumed it was announced that no action was taken.
A Neighborhood Revitalization Grant was approved for Jerrin and Brianne Heiman at Six Twenty-Two West Fourth in Beloit. The Grant is for a garage in the amount of Thirty-three thousand seven hundred and two dollars.
A Neighborhood Revitalization Grant was approved for Blue Hills Game Birds and Hatchery in rural Tipton. The Grant is for a Twenty-Four foot by Forty-Two foot TREB building in the amount of Twenty-four thousand three hundred fifty-seven dollars.
Commissioner Tom Claussen urged everyone to vote in the upcoming election on August fifth. County Clerk Chris Treaster announced that advance voting is permissible in her office until Monday, August fourth.
The Commissioners adjourned the regular meeting and the moved into a work session. The purpose of the work session was to review and discuss the Neighborhood Revitalization Grant Program. The current plan will soon expire and the Commissioners need to decide what the new plan will look like.
Melissa Latham, County Appraiser, Heather Hartman, Economic Development, and Yvonne Melton, County Treasurer, had been charged with the responsibility of developing a new plan for the upcoming year. They had spent considerable time reviewing the old program and looking at what worked well and what needed fixed, improved or done away with.
The original intent of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program was to encourage rehabilitation of structures in blighted or economically challenged areas. A tax rebate program was used as inducement to improve existing homes and businesses of to build new facilities in these areas. The reality of the situation is that few people want to invest in these areas. This is true not just in Beloit but wherever the program has been offered.
Latham, Hartman, and Melton presented the Commissioners with their proposal for a plan to replace the current plan now in existence.
A wide ranging discussion followed regarding the pros and cons of the program and specific topics. Currently the program has a life span of ten years. Should it be less than ten years? How much less? Should residential structures be treated the same as commercial structures? If so, how? Is the application fee high enough to cover the extra work created in the departments that monitor the program? Should it be higher? How much higher? What happens when the grant recipient protests the assessed evaluation of the property? Should there be penalties for delinquent taxes on the property?
Latham, Hartman and Melton were directed to review their proposal and make changes to reflect the suggestions and concerns expressed during the work session. They will revise their proposal and meet again with the Commissioners to finalize a new Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for their final approval.
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