Riley County Commission Observer Reports, April 18 and 25

Riley County  Commission, April 18, 2016

All commissioners present

Julie Merklin, observer

Pat Collins gave an update on agricultural burning for the month of April.  Up to the 18 of April there were only 8 days of  burning because of windy conditions.  During this time almost 28,000 acres  were burned.  Some unplanned fires occurred because fires which were thought to be “out” had some embers which were revived by the wind and had to be put out again.

Clancy Holeman and the Commission discussed the relocation of the County Ambulance HQ to renovated and expanded Manhattan Fire Dept HQ.  Many details must be worked out, including responsibilities for County and City. They discussed covering the costs, issuing bonds, how much and how long a bond issue.  Work will continue on this.

The foundation of the courthouse has been leaking and the Commission agreed to go ahead with waterproofing.  They have requested more information. They will also have to address replacing the landscaping of the area which is mostly the south-east corner of the building.

Jessica Fiscus and Ginny Bernard presented a proposal to amend the Tobacco Use Resolution to include the outside ground and walking trail around the Health Dept. to be a tobacco/vapor- free environment , in order to protect the health of employees, clients, and visitors to the facilities.  Some legal details still need to be determined.

The commission decided to go ahead with repairs and rehab on the Winkler Mills Bridge.


Riley County Commission, April 25, 2016

Joan Strickler, observer

Commissioners Wilson, Boyd and Wells present, Wilson presiding.

In a general conversation Commissioners Boyd and Wells expressed concern about the Governor’s plans to continue to take money from the Kansas Department of Transportation over the next several years to address the State budget shortfalls.  The possibility of counties being subject to a tax lid also caused concern.  The County is growing and needs are expanding and must be met.

Robbin Cole, director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, reported that studies indicate up to 90% of suicides indicate some degree of mental illness.

Cole is planning to establish a Crisis Care program at the former Wharton Manor on Claflin Rd. The program would not provide hospital services but provide observation and stability assistance for a variety of needs.  She sees it also as a place for persons released from State hospitals to be referred to for continued assistance and stabilization.

Shelly Williams, Community Corrections Director, reviewed her FY 17 Kansas Department of Corrections Plan grant application.  The State plans to lower its population of juvenile offenders now in prison by releasing offenders to receive supervision and support through the community corrections offices.  With the increase in the numbers of juveniles needing community services, however, there appears to be no increase in State financial support for community corrections.

I checked with Rich Vargo on plans to replace the voting machines.  He said the old ones will be used for both the primary and general elections this year.  New machines will be purchased in 2017.  He said the new machines would be capable of verifying votes but not necessarily on paper.

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