Riley County Commissioners Meeting, November 6, 2017

Riley County Commissioners Meeting for Monday, November 6, 2017

Observer: William Schenck-Hamlin

Business Meeting

  1. Commissioners approved promotions for two people in the Riley County office.
  2. Commissioners approved an advertisement to replace a culvert on West 543th Avenue.
  3. Commissioners approved an amendment to increase the funding for a renovation project in the clerk’s office. Six thousand dollars was added to the project.
  4. Commissioners approved a .80% cost of living pay increase for appointed and elected officials.
  5. Commissioners approved the minutes from the last meeting.
  6. Commissioners reviewed the agendas for meetings on 11/9/2017 and 11/13/2017.
  7. Riley County counselor and director of administrative services, Clancy Holeman, reviewed pending county projects.
  8. Riley County treasurer, Shilo Heger, reviewed the balance sheets for Riley County. To date, sales tax collections are down by 1.57% compared to October 2016.

Press Conference

  1. Gina Scroggs from Downtown Manhattan reviewed the plans for the upcoming events during the Holiday season.
  2. Captain Rich Fink of RCPD noted that preventable accidents were up by 1% but injury accidents were down. He also discussed shift changes that would place more officers on duty when and where they are needed.
  3. Leon Hobson briefly discussed a public notice on the project that will be underway soon.
  4. Rich Vargo noted that a general election will be held on Tuesday, 11/07/2017 for the City Commission and School Board. Everything is ready.

Meeting Adjourned

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Riley County Commission: October 23, 2017

Riley County Commission October 23, 2017
Observer:  Joan Strickler

Commissioners Wells, Rodriguez and Wilson present, Wells presiding.
Robbin Cole, Director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, said Ossawatomie State Hospital is continuing to lose the State $1 million a month due to loss of federal certification. Currently Larned State Hospital is now in the news due to similar problems in being in non-compliance. Larned has been given one month to come up to the standards. The State is looking into privatizing the hospitals but must have Legislative approval to do so.
A legislative forum involving local State Legislators to discuss mental health issues will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 Tuesday at Manhattan City Hall.
Register of Deeds Debbie Regester reported the County is well ahead of projected income for this year amounting to $751,000. However, she has been tracking daily revenue loss due to changes in filing fees and the mortgage registration tax approved by the Legislature. Total revenue loss from January l, 2005 (when the new fee/registration tax went into effect) through October 17, 2017 now totals $538,510.
County Clerk Rich Vargo encouraged people to vote in the coming election on November 7. This year is the first time for school and City elections to be held in the fall.

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Riley County Law Board, October 16, 2017

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on Monday, October 16, 2017. The consent agenda and officers not having to shave during December to raise money for Shop with a Cop were approved.

The local Unitarian Universalist minister and Dr. John Exdell showed statistics that they said showed a bias by RCPD for arresting more blacks than whites for using marijuana, usually through pretextual stops. A book by Dr. Epp of KU which purported to show this in the Lawrence/KC area was cited. Dr. Exdell said his statistics had been adjusted to take the populations of Manhattan and the class of the vehicle in the stop into consideration. Several in attendance gave anecdotal evidence of treatment they thought was discriminatory by the RCPD, one of whom attended our Lunch with the League the next day. Chief Schoen said often guns or drugs from other jurisdictions were involved or RCPD wants to know that address of who is driving the car. Detective Johnson, representing the police officer’s union thanked Dr. Exdell for his concerns then mentioned that this was the fourth time he had been before the Law Board. He said some of the statistics had been taken from Facebook which was not a reliable source and that with the transient student and military populations in Manhattan it could not be comparable to Lawrence or KC, due in part to age and socioeconomic factors.

In an effort to solve this question a committee was formed to look at all police reports and garner certain statistics to prove or disprove the issue. Committee members would come from MAPJ, RCPD and the Law Board. Chief Schoen said this had been tried at the state level unsuccessfully and it would take quite a while. Three to four months was mentioned as a timeframe to decide what information to collect, but Chief Schoen said he would be out of town for a week in October and November so it would take longer.

The Board went into executive session for 15 minutes then adjourned at 2:30

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Riley County Commission, September 25, 2017

Riley County Commission September 25, 2017

Joan Strickler, observer

Commissioners Wells, Rodriguez and Wilson present, Wells presiding.

Health Department Director, Jennifer Green, requested Commission approval to submit a grant proposal to the Peine Foundation intended to supplement federal funds provided to identify needs of underserved populations in the County.  The additional funds would allow the Department to hire one full time Community Liaison who would recruit individuals to assist with neighborhood surveys, and arrange to provide bus transportation to meetings with food and interpreter services as needed.  The surveys would help identify unserved or underserved individuals with conditions including mental illness, diabetes, heart and other problems.  The request was approved.

Clancy Holeman, Counselor/Director of Administrative Services expressed appreciation to the County’s local elected officials who participated in a meeting with State officials regarding the re-certification of the RCPD self-funded workers comp funds plan.  Problems and misunderstandings were identified and, hopefully, problems solved.

Leon Hobson, Public Works Director, reported on a meeting with Ft. Riley representatives to discuss the possibility of constructing detention structures on Fort Riley land.  Such structures would be intended to reduce the impact of flooding on Wildcat Creek.  Additional information is needed.  Commissioners agreed to join the City in paying for a feasibility study prior to any such construction getting underway.

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USD 383 Board of Education, Sept. 20, 2017

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Work session:

Representatives of BG Consultants, who have been developing a facilities’ master plan for the district, provided the board with preliminary information.  The consultants projected that in the next five years, the elementary level will need 23 additional classrooms, which could result in the need for an additional elementary school.  The consultants suggested the option of creating K-5 elementary schools and moving 6th grade to the middle school level to alleviate some of the crowding at the elementary level.  The middle schools could be added onto to accommodate the additional students, and the consultants also recommended adding a large music room to the middle schools that could double as a storm shelter.  The consultants said that MHS East Campus is underutilized and could house twice as many students.  They suggested locating administrative offices in MHS East Campus or to create an innovative campus for grades 9-12.  For the next 5 years, the consultants projected $124 million in projects, which could be compacted, deferred, completed with capital outlay, or become a bond project.  For the next 20 years, the consultants projected the district will need to invest $242 million in implementation and maintenance.  Dave Colburn commented that a big item in the preliminary master plan is moving 6th grade to middle school versus building a new K-6 school, and he asked about the cost difference and which could be completed quicker.  The consultants said they were finalizing numbers and were also looking at the option of constructing two elementary schools in lieu of moving 6th grade.

Regular meeting:

Jason Hilgers and Eddie Eastes with the City of Manhattan updated the board on the recreation and trails sales tax that will be on the November ballot.  If approved by voters, $8.5 million would be spent at each middle school to add on 30,000-40,000 square foot facilities.  Another $8.5 million would be spent on improvements at CiCo Park.  Other funds would be dedicated to expanding trails and filling gaps in trails.  Mr. Colburn commented that if the tax isn’t approved, the district would have to add gyms to the middle schools and use property taxes.

Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, provided a report on enrollment.  The elementary level was up 106, middle school was up 33 students, and the high school level was up 73 students, for an overall increase of 212 students.  Mr. Reid also reported on student transfers, and there were 63 “forced” transfers, which occurs when the school a student is supposed to attend is overcrowded and the student is moved to a less-crowded school.

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Riley County Law Board, September 18, 2017

Observer:  Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at 12:00 PM on Monday, September 18.

It began with an update on the Community Advisory Board.  There are nine members and one vacancy.  A KSU student has just been recruited.  Their job is to assist and advise the RCPD and relay community needs to them.  They meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 11:30AM at Bluestem Bistro.  All are welcome.

October 28 will be a day when prescription drugs can be brought to RCPD or the mall for destruction.

RCPD is buy seven new vehicles that were already in the budget.

The Radio Infrastructure Replacement Agreement was discussed.  The county will be in charge of the infrastructure, e.g. antennas, relays and towers.  Agencies that was to be a part of this and use the system such as RCPD, Manhattan Fire Department, Emergency Services and Ambulances will have to buy the prescribed radios to fit the system.  The county will buy the infrastructure and radios together to get them cheaper then distribute the radios.

The Workman’s Comp Self Funding agreement was approved after discussions on the definition of an emergency and funding which will be agreeable to the state.

The Law Board will furnish a letter approving a grant request which will fund a recovering mental health patient as a certified peer counselor who will work with inmates and recent releases.  The letter will give the grant a priority and allow the a counselor to work in the jail.The counselor will work through Pawnee Mental Health and is budgeted for 20 hours a week.  They will help people with things such as housing, medicaid and finding a doctor.

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USD 383 Board of Education, Aug. 16, 2017

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

The board held a public hearing on the proposed budget, and no members of the public addressed the board.

The first day of the 2017-18 school year had been Aug. 16, and Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, reported on preliminary enrollment numbers.  Mr. Reid said the district has been retaining more students for longer periods than has been the pattern in the past.  He said the biggest change was at the high school level, but some of the students included in the count may not be returning, so the number isn’t very firm.  Elementary enrollment was estimated to have increased approximately 86 students, middle school increased by approximately 26 students, and high school increased by 83, but the high school number was less accurate.  Mr. Reid commented that the district doesn’t have the physical places to put kids into classrooms and added that the district has the kids and the rooms, but sometimes the numbers don’t match up right, meaning sometimes students have to be shifted to where a school has space.  Darell Edie commented that the district had added three new elementary classrooms, and the elementary level is still full.  Dave Colburn asked if classrooms had spilled into any of the rooms designated for specials (i.e. music, art, etc.).  Mr. Reid said that Northview Elementary had used its overflow flex space and has probably lost some flexibility.

The board discussed the 2017-18 budget and where to set the capital outlay mill levy.  Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, informed the board that $254,000 for security needs had been moved from a level two priority to level one.  Mr. Faust also mentioned a few expensive items, such as roofs, will be coming up as needing to be addressed, and money could be set aside in anticipation of the expenses.  Mr. Colburn asked if the levy would be set at 8.0 mills or 7.5 mills, and Mr. Faust answered that 7.5 mills would fund the proposed projects and 8.0 mills would help with cash flow and with setting funds aside for fiscal year 2019.  Mr. Colburn said that USD 383 has one of the highest mill levies when compared to similar districts if one discounts the bond and interest fund.  For residential property taxes, a flat mill levy would cause an increase of $40, a mill levy of 55.372 would cause an increase of $49, and a mill levy set at 56.270 would cause an increase of $61.  Aaron Estabrooks commented that what he expected would happen in Topeka if the district doesn’t use all of its authority is legislators will say, “Why didn’t you?”  He added that we don’t know what will happen with the Supreme Court, and we don’t want to tie our hands. Curt Herrman commented that he liked administration’s original proposal because of the sales tax that will be on the ballot and because the district will probably have a bond issue coming up.  Leah Fliter commented that the sales tax on the ballot won’t be an increase and will redirect a current tax.  Ms. Fliter moved to set the levy at 56.270 mills with capital outlay set at 8.0 mills.  Mr. Colburn said he liked administration’s original proposal and said it’s an unpleasant choice either way.  Anticipating that the vote might split 3-3, the board discussed calling absent member Marcia Rozell for her vote.  Mr. Colburn said that given the dilemma the board was facing in needing to get the budget finalized, he would support the motion but wanted it noted that he did so under protest.  The motion was approved 4-2, with Mr. Colburn, Mr. Estabrooks, Ms. Fliter, and Pat Hudgins voting in favor, and Mr. Herrman and Mr. Edie voting against.

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Riley County Commission July 24, 2017

Riley County Commission July 24,

Joan Strickler, observer

Commissioners Wells and Wilson present, Rodriguez absent.

Lori Feldcamp, director of Big Lakes Developmental Center, reported the Legislature approved a 3% increase in funding for developmental disabilities centers this year.  The two year budgeting process provides for a similar increase for a following year.  Feldcamp says the increase will allow Big Lakes to raise hourly salaries to $11.  Low salaries have made it difficult to attract employees and keep positions filled.  The increase in funding is the first for Kansas’ developmental disabilities centers in nine years.

Feldcamp said BLDC is initiating a drive to raise endowment funds to provide the agency security against budget cuts in the future.

Riley County Extension Director Jennifer Wilson said efforts are underway to prepare for the Riley County Fair to be held July 27 through 31.  Admission is free and a $25 wristband allows the person to enjoy all rides from 6-10 pm each night. The Kaw Valley Rodeo will also be held at the Fair July 27, 28 and 29 in Wells Arena starting at 8 pm. This year the announcer will be on horseback in the ring.  Entries are coming in from many states.

The Tax Auction on delinquent ad valorem property is scheduled for August 16th.  Persons interested should check the County website.

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USD 383 Board of Education, July 5, 2017

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Board members elected Darell Edie to serve as board president.  Both Curt Herrman and Leah Fliter were nominated for vice-president.  Board members voted by ballot and elected Mr. Herrman to serve.  The board also approved several other routine annual appointments.

The board received an update from Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, about budget planning.  Both sides of the school funding lawsuit have filed their briefs.  The state maintains that the proposed budget is adequate, and if the Supreme Court finds otherwise, the Legislature should be allowed to fix it.  The plaintiffs claim the proposed funding is inadequate and believe schools should close on Aug. 1 if the funding isn’t fixed.  Mr. Faust also reported that he had just been notified that the district’s budget authority had increased, and he had not had time to develop a report.

Board members approved front door and window replacement for Lee Elementary because both had been damaged in a automobile accident in April.  The driver’s insurance covered the replacement expenses.  The board also approved sanitary sewer repairs at MHS West Campus and an HVAC piping replacement at Anthony.

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Riley Count Commissioners Board Meeting, June 26, 2017

Board of Riley County Commissioners June 26, 2017

Joan Strickler, observer

Commissioners Wells, Rodriguez and Wilson present, Wells as chair.

Robbin Cole, director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, said the news from the legislative session this year is basically positive. Community mental health facilities are allowed to exempt guns from their premises and first responders may now administer medication to deal with opioid abuse.

Osawatomie State Hospital continues to lose $1 million a month because of lack of federal certification; however, issues affecting patients have been corrected and remaining deficiencies involve food service and policies. Governor Brownback still would like to privatize State hospitals.

Jane Freyenberger, WIC Supervisor, presented the Kansas Local Health Department Agency’s proposed budget to cover WIC and breastfeeding services for Riley County, Fort Riley and Pottawatomie County. All federal funds are involved. The Commissioners approved the $874,161 request for FY 2018.

County Counselor Clancy Holeman presented a request for a fence viewing. Kansas Statutes require that the board of county commissioners shall act as “fence viewers” upon request. The Commissioners asked Holeman to find an agreeable time involving all the Commissioners and parties involved.

The Director of the Riley County Museum, Cheryl Collins, encouraged people to attend a presentation by Allana Saenger Parker, “Summer Outside the City: Eureka Lake Resort”. The lake once existed about where the Flint Hills Job Corps is now. It involved an amusement park and resort that attracted tourists from as far away as Chicago. Parker will speak at 7:00 p.m. at the Manhattan Public Library on Wednesday, June 28.

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