Brown County Commission 3.16.20

Submitted by Melissa Gormley, County Clerk

The Board of Brown County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, March 16, with the following members present: Chairman Dwight A. Kruse, Keith Olsen and Richard L. Lehmkuhl. Also present were Brown County Clerk Melissa Gormley and Deputy County Clerk Dawn Boyles. County Attorney Kevin Hill was present for a portion of the meeting via phone conference.

Kruse opened the meeting at 8:10 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all. Pastor Jim Farris led the meeting with a prayer.

Logan Bausch and Martha Smith, Northeast Kansas Environmental Services, updated the commissioners on the 2019 Brown County NEK Environmental Activities.

Tim Lentz, Horton Industrial Development Committee Director, gave an update on the activities of the HIDC.

Head Custodian Dave Schuetz discussed the electrical findings to allow electrical access around courthouse square. Schuetz indicated the vanity in the women’s bathroom on the second floor needs replaced. Schuetz estimated the cost for the vanity replacement to be about $1,000.

Schuetz also presented the estimates for the sewer line repairs. The estimates were as follows: Eagle Sundown Services with an estimate of $3,550; RB Plumbing and Carpentry with an estimate of $3,119.50; and Waldinger Corporation with an estimate of $5,488. The commissioners approved the Eagle Sundown Services bid of $3,550.

Department Reports

Services for the Elderly Director Lori Gray discussed her concerns with keeping her office open during this time. The clients and the drivers for the Services for the Elderly fall into the high risk category for COVID-19. Gray reached out to the local hospital, and the suggestion was to stop services until the end of March. Gray will contact the Area Agency on Aging and determine if there will be any available taxi services to the elderly in the county.

Gray later discussed her conversation with the Area Agency on Aging. The commissioners approved the motion to close the Senior Center through March 31 and suspend taxi services for one week. The commission will revisit the taxi situation next Monday.

Brown County Emergency Management Coordinator Don Pounds updated the commission on the courses of action for COVID-19 in Brown County. Pounds suggested the commission approve the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Resolution. The resolution would allow 60 days rather than seven days to work through COVID-19.

Sandy Carter, IT Department Director, requested permission to start a Brown County Facebook page to have a social media platform to update the public on matters concerning the COVID-19 situation. Carter also let the commission know she has been working on a course of action should employees have to work from home.

Brown County Treasurer Cheryl Lippold updated the commission on the quarterly activities in her office. Lippold also presented the balances of the county accounts for the commission’s review.

Brown County Appraiser Steve Markharm discussed the hearings his office is required to conduct and the deadlines. Markham is going to attempt to do as many as possible via phone. Markham also discussed putting off hiring a replacement for an opening in his office until a later date.

Clerk Gormley announced the Road and Bridge meeting scheduled for March 17 at the Fisher Center has been canceled. Gormley also indicated the Northeast Kansas County Highway Officials meeting in Jackson County scheduled for March 26 also has been canceled.

Executive Sessions

Brown County Sheriff John Merchant requested a 15-minute executive session to discuss personnel matters of non-elected personnel with executive session necessary to protect privacy interests. Present for the executive session were the three commissioners and Sheriff Merchant. Following the executive session, no binding action was taken.

County Attorney Hill requested a five-minute executive session via phone conference on Attorney Client Privilege to discuss legal matters with legal counsel, to protect the Boards privilege and communication with an attorney. Present for the executive session were Attorney Hill, Clerk Gormley and the three commissioners. Following the executive session, no binding action was taken.

Also at the meeting:

The March 11 payroll was approved as follows: General, $76,359.19; Road and Bridge, $15,846.89; Election, $245.77; Technology, $864.56; Appraiser, $7,044.64; Noxious Weed, $1,824; ACC, $7,094.65; JJA Core, $6,794.34; Reinvestment Grant, $1,802.68; Services for Elderly, $2,812.25; Solid Waste, $4,236; Special MVT, $2,990.90; Employee Benefit FICA, $8,107.09; and Employee Benefit KPERS, $10,213.64. After State Unemployment and Workers Compensation of $336.74 and Insurance of $3,104.37 were taken out, the total was $142,795.49.

The commissioners approved the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Resolution Proclamation effective March 16, 2020.

The commissioners approved Resolution 2020-07, a resolution addressing delinquent ad valorem taxes of former Horton Hospital Property.

The commissioners approved the March 9 meeting minutes.

The meeting adjourned at 11:16 a.m.

The next regular meeting was held on Monday, March 23. These minutes were not available at The Herald’s press time.

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The Sabetha Herald has been serving Sabetha since 1876.

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