Governing Body: Nemaha County Commission
Submitted by Mary Kay Schultejans, County Clerk
The Board of Nemaha County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, May 15, in the Commissioner’s Room of the Nemaha County Courthouse. The meeting was called to order with Chairman Jason Koch leading the flag salute. Present also were Commissioners Ben Glace and Dylan Keim, and County Clerk Mary Kay Schultejans recording the minutes. County Attorney Brad Lippert also was present for today’s open public forum. Chairman Jason Koch asked for a moment of silence to begin the meeting.
No one addressed the board during today’s open public forum.
Road and Bridge/Solid Waste Supervisor Adam Kuckelman, along with Assistant Office Manager Kristina Talkington, advised the board that:
• The guys are working on blade patching county roads where needed at this time.
• The bridge crew finished their work on the Goff-Oneida Road last week and Bergkamp Construction plans to begin work on this road on May 22. Kuckelman stated that this road will be closed to through traffic during the time it is being worked on.
• Road and Bridge Employee Ty Hower is working on getting his CDL at this time. Kuckelman stated that Hower has to have a mentor to train him for the driving test, the cost of which is $650. The commissioners advised Kuckelman that the county would pay this cost for Hower and work on getting a policy in place addressing this issue as soon as possible. Kuckelman let the board know that he is trying to become an instructor to train future Nemaha County employees.
• He would like to increase the pay for Steve Holthaus from $21.04 per hour to $21.38 per hour (from Truck Driver D to Blade Operator 2D on the pay scale). The board agreed to this pay increase effective on May 21.
• A grant through the Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program is available. Kuckelman said this grant will pay $1,000 per linear foot of steel truss bridge to either close the bridge and get it off of our inventory or replace the bridge, since these bridges are fracture critical bridges. The commissioners advised Kuckelman to look into whether a public hearing would be required, and if not to move forward with applying for the grant.
Emergency Preparedness Director Eddie Aldrine advised the board that:
• There were two funnels Friday night north of Fidelity that may have been tornadoes. Aldrine stated that he could not find any damage in this area following the storm, however.
• The Centralia siren is still being worked on at this time. Aldrine said he is looking into buying a used siren or applying for a grant to purchase a new siren to replace this siren if the cost to repair the siren is too high.
• Tornado sirens are intended to warn people in the area that are outside at the time, not inside their homes or businesses. Aldrine advised that people should have weather radios to alert you if you are inside.
• There is an LEPC meeting scheduled this week on Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Pioneer Building Meeting Room.
• There will be a presentation by Bruce Jones at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 20, at the Nemaha County Community Building.
The Sheriff’s office has hired Camryn Wessel as a relief corrections officer beginning work today, May 15, at a rate of pay of $18.74 per hour.
Treasurer Janell Niehues came before the board to ask for an executive session with the commissioners. The commissioners held a 10-minute executive session to discuss the hiring of non-elected personnel. Present for the executive session were the Board of Commissioners and Niehues. The meeting returned to open session with no action taken by the board following the executive session.
Niehues also spoke to the commissioners about suggestions for the use of the county’s ARPA funds. Niehues suggested that the county replace the heating/cooling registers in the courthouse and fix the cement foundation of the courthouse. The commissioners advised Niehues that they would talk to Jack Willmeth to see if ARPA money could be used for these items.
County Attorney Lippert came before the board. The commissioners spoke to Lippert about holding a public hearing to close a bridge if the road that this bridge is on is already closed. Lippert said a public hearing is not needed when the road is already closed. The commissioners also asked Lippert about a response to a letter sent to Nemaha County Community Health Services regarding inventory items.
Sheriff Rich Vernon came before the board to speak to the commissioners about giving the department heads an idea of what they are thinking for employee raises for 2024 so that the department heads can submit an accurate budget request for their department. The commissioners agreed to hold a Department Head meeting in June to discuss this.
Also at the meeting:
The board reviewed and approved the minutes from the May 8 meeting with corrections noted.
The board reviewed and approved the minutes from the May 10 special meeting.
The commissioners approved the Cereal Malt Beverage (CMB) application submitted by Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Chairman Koch signed the CMB license as presented.
Dennis Becker — who is the Gilman Township Trustee — came before the board to speak to the commissioners about the extremely high amount of traffic on O Road from U.S. Highway 36 north to 160th Road. Becker is proposing that the county take over this stretch of road and the township take over the stretch of road on N Road from U.S. Highway 36 north to 160th Road. The commissioners advised Becker to talk to Road and Bridge/Solid Waste Supervisor Kuckelman about this proposal.
The commissioners held a 15-minute executive session to discuss the hiring of non-elected personnel. Present for the executive session was the Board of Commissioners. The meeting returned to open session with no action taken by the board following the executive session.
The board reviewed vouchers submitted by the different departments to be paid at the middle of May.
The next regularly scheduled meeting was held at 9 a.m. Monday, May 22. These minutes were not available at The Herald’s press time.