Riley County Commission 8/15/16, 8/22/16, 8/25/16

Riley County Commission August 15, 2016

All Commissioners present

Lyle Butler from the Chamber of Commerce told the Commission that Manhattan needs to work to keep graduating students here.   With companies from outside our area coming to recruit, local employers need to get active in job fairs.

Jennifer Wilson announced a Medicare basics meeting Aug. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pottorf Hall.  Register on line or call her office.

The announced discussion of the sale of County properties brought several people  who wanted to address the question.  One main concern was the Riley County Historical Society’s headquarters in the historic Platt house.  If it were sold, would the Society have to move?  Would the fabric of the house be conserved if the Society were not there?

The discussion then became a discussion of the sale of all the properties concerned, including the proposed move of EMS to the Dennison Fire Station and the terms of the lease of the facility.  Details were in Monday’s Mercury.  Finally it was decided to table the whole discussion of the property sale.

Leon Hobson presented the Green -Randolph Bridge replacement bids and recommendations.  Several people from the area were present to express concerns about access.  Hobson said that the recommendation was to accept the bid including the Shoo-fly, thus providing a way to cross without having to use a very long detour during construction.

Julie Merklin, observer.


Board of Riley County Commission August 22, 2016

Joan Strickler, observer

Commissioners Wilson and Wells present, Boyd absent.

Commissioners voted to dissolve the Riley County Public Building Commission (Res. No. 121514-52).

Robbin Cole, Director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, said that on Friday a reception will be held at the Manhattan Arts Center featuring artwork by persons with serious emotional disturbances.   She also noted that the Association of Mental Health Centers of Kansas will be meeting this year in Manhattan. She added it appears the current restriction on accepting new patients at Ossawatomie State Hospital will be eased when partial certification allows federal funds to become available.

Cole said her agency currently is housed in three separate buildings and she would be supportive of efforts to consolidate services into one building to reduce the maintenance costs.  However she would be concerned about any plans to sell the Claflin building without the alternative being available.  Commissioner Wells agreed that such a sale would be inappropriate without the appropriate alternatives available.

Cheryl Collins, Museum Director, and Marcia Roselle discussed the impact of Freedom’s Frontier, designated National Heritage Area affiliated with the National Park Service.  A map is available designating places of interest relating to the conflict over Kansas entering the Union as a Free State.  Commissioner Wells said it’s important to get children interested in the value of learning about our history.

County Counselor Clancy Holeman said negotiations are getting restarted on moving the County’s Emergency Services to the location of the Fire Department.  There is concern about the K-State Foundation’s provision for a one year lease termination provision.

The Commissioners agreed to allow a Pet Expo to be held on County land.  Proceeds will be used, in part, to provide new equipment for the County’s dog park.

An oil company is interested in drilling on property located in a township.  There is an area and a road involved that belongs to the County.  According to County Counselor Clancy Holeman, the township has the right to enter into an oil/gas lease.  There would be concerns, however, if, it would involve impacting the County’s right-of-way.


Riley County Commission August 25, 2016

Joan Strickler, observer

Commissioners Wilson and Wells present, Wilson chair.  Commissioner Boyd was absent.

In reviewing the draft of the previous meeting minutes, County Counselor Clancy Holeman clarified the question he presented to a K-State attorney regarding the proposed move of the County’s Emergency Medical Services building to the Denison fire station location.  His concern relates to a proposed lease provision that would allow K-State to terminate the rental agreement with one year’s notice.  While the County would own the building K-State owns the land the building would occupy.  The County would require a  long-term lease agreement to justify the arrangement.

The Commission reviewed a CGI Communications video being developed as a Riley County promotional video.   Commissioners expressed approval of the video with the exception of one part including a business located in Pottawatomie County.

Holeman reviewed proposals to recommend to the Kansas Legislature to include in the Kansas Association of Counties 2017 Legislative Platform.  HB 2477 would grant “Home Rule Authority” in place of “Statutory Authority” to Counties, similar to what currently exists for Cities. This, essentially, would remove the power of the Legislature to control the taxing authority of the Counties.

The County Treasurers’ Association, however, opposes the measure citing lengthy staff time required to deal with motor vehicle registrations.  Their offices would have to do extensive research into assuring that property taxes were paid and up to date for the owners of all properties.  Some properties are owned by multiple individuals and corporations.  In such situations it would be difficult to research each owner applicant.   The Commissioners agreed the proposed bill would need to be amended to meet those concerns.

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