Nemaha County Commission 08.28.2023
Mary Kay Schultejans
Monday, Aug. 28
The Board of Nemaha County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, Aug. 28, 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. Chairman Koch asked for a moment of silence to begin the meeting this morning.
Todd Rokey addressed the board during today’s open public forum. Rokey encouraged the commissioners to keep moving forward with the adoption of the comprehensive plan and the recommendations provided by the planning commission when presenting the plan to the board.
Laurie Schmelzle addressed the board during today’s open public forum. Schmelzle spoke to the commissioners about the City of Seneca recently extending their extra-territorial jurisdiction as an example of what can happen in zoned communities.
David McCoy addressed the board during today’s open public forum. McCoy stated that he would really like to see the further development of wind farms in the county stopped, or at the very least setbacks established for how close the turbines can be located to non-participating landowners.
Road and Bridge/Solid Waste Supervisor Adam Kuckelman, along with Office Manager Kathy Haverkamp, advised the board that:
• The guys finished blade patching the Baileyville Road and are now working on the Humboldt Road at this time.
• There are a couple of landowners with corn planted in the road right of way that is impeding the safety of drivers at intersections. Commissioners advised Kuckelman to have County Attorney Brad Lippert send a letter to these landowners about this issue.
• An employee was threatened by an individual last week while mowing along the Bern-Sabetha Road. The commissioners advised Kuckelman that they will speak to Sheriff Rich Vernon about this issue.
• He would appreciate the board not allowing every supplemental insurance agency to try to sell to county employees.
• He has received complaints about a section of road that needs to be graded, but this section of road was treated earlier for dust control.
• He wanted clarification on what the commissioners wanted to do regarding the striping of certain hard surfaced roads in the county. The board advised Kuckelman to get his name on the list to use a counter to determine the amount of traffic on these roads.
• He received a job application for a truck driver that he shared with the commissioners.
• They are having trouble getting rid of fiber board at the landfill.
Sheriff Vernon advised the board that:
• Alan Russo has resigned his position as a communications officer effective Aug. 26.
• He has hired Kenny Miller as a relief deputy to begin work for the county on Aug. 28 at a rate of pay of $22.60 per hour.
• He has heard that Dodge is no longer making SSV pickups. Vernon stated that he will be needing to replace a Durango and a pickup soon in his fleet. He is looking at possibly purchasing a 2023 Dodge pickup if he is able to find one and pay for out of his Capital Outlay funds.
• Anytime a county employee feels threatened at work, they should immediately call 911 and they are allowed to defend themselves.
County Attorney Lippert came before the board. Lippert presented a draft of a resolution to the commissioners to adopt the comprehensive plan presented by the Nemaha County Planning Commission. The commissioners approved Resolution No. 2023-6, the resolution approving the comprehensive plan. The board signed the resolution as presented.
Senior Services/Public Transit Director Tammy Epple came before the board. Epple spoke to the commissioners about the bids received for doing the dirt work at the Pioneer Building. The commissioners approved the bid from Young Backhoe and Trenching in the amount of $6,172 to do the dirt work necessary at the Pioneer Building to address water drainage issues. Chairman Koch signed the bid as presented. The board approved the bid from AHRS Construction for the removal and replacement of sidewalks at the Pioneer Building in the amount of $14,975. Chairman Koch signed the bid as presented.
Epple spoke with the commissioners about the HVAC system at the Pioneer Building. She let the board know that she recently spoke with Eisenbarth Plumbing and Edelman’s about this issue. The commissioners asked Epple to talk with Maintenance employee Troy Melvin to figure out the ages of the remaining units needing to be replaced at the Pioneer Building.
Epple let the commissioners know that the Red Cross wants to be able to continue to use the Community Building for blood drives rent free. Epple stated that she would speak to a representative from the Red Cross to see if they could use the Pioneer Building Meeting Room instead of the Community Building for future blood drives.
Epple stated that she would like her credit card limit increased for the month of September. The commissioners decided to increase the limit on the Senior Services credit card to $2,500 for the month of September for the Midwest Transit Conference.
Epple also let the commissioners know that the Step Foundation recently held a match day. Epple stated that the Meals on Wheels Fund raised $1,785.83 in pre-match dollars during this event.
Emergency Preparedness Director Eddie Aldrine advised the board that:
• There was a hazmat spill exercise this morning which involved the Seneca Fire Department, the Sabetha and Seneca EMS, and the Sabetha and Seneca hospital.
• He has tried a camera and microphone for the Commission Room, and he wanted to know how the commissioners wanted him to proceed. The commissioners advised Aldrine to explore other options.
• He will be in Kansas City next week for training.
The board met with Epple at the Community Building to discuss renovations to be made in the kitchen before the Nutrition Program begins to utilize this space. A representative from Nebraska Chemical Company was also present for this discussion. Following discussion, the commissioners approved the bid from Nebraska Chemical Company in the amount of $13,914 to install a new three-department sink and dishwasher.
Also at the meeting:
The board reviewed and approved the minutes as amended from the Aug. 21 meeting.
Celene Holthaus, Ashley Snyder, Abby Tanking and Kailey Patton-Deters came before the board on behalf of Nemaha County United 4 Youth. C. Holthaus spoke to the commissioners about the purpose of this organization and about the activities that they do with the youth in the county. She also requested continued funding from the county for this organization, however, there was no budget request made for 2023.
The commissioners held a 10-minute executive session to discuss the performance 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 on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31. The commissioners approved the warrants to be paid on Aug. 29 as presented and the pay vouchers to be paid on Aug. 31 as presented.
Chairman Koch left the meeting at 2:25 p.m. and returned at 3:30 p.m.
Commissioners have tentatively scheduled the 2023 Northeast Kansas County Officials Association Meeting to be held in Nemaha County for Nov. 17.
Amber Bletscher with Saylor Insurance came before the board to answer questions commissioners had regarding health insurance coverage through this company. Following discussion, Keim moved to send notice to the State Employee Health Plan that Nemaha County will be ending the contract with them on Nov. 30. Glace seconded the motion. The motion carried with Keim and Glace voting aye and Koch voting nay. Then, the commissioners voted, with all in favor, to offer employee health insurance through Saylor Insurance beginning Dec. 1.
The commissioners held a 10-minute executive session to discuss the hiring of non-elected personnel. Present for the executive session was the Board of Commissioners. The board requested to extend the executive session for an additional two minutes. The meeting returned to open session with no action taken by the board following the executive session.
Glace left the meeting at 4:42 p.m.
With no further county business coming before the board, the commissioners adjourned.
Thursday, Aug 31
The Board of Nemaha County Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, Aug. 31, 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.
Chairman Koch announced that he called this special meeting to discuss the possibility of changing the effective date of the new insurance policy that will be offered to Nemaha County employees soon. Several department heads and employees were present for today’s discussion. Mindy Sudbeck and Amber Bletscher with Saylor Insurance were also present for today’s discussion.
The major concern of the employees present was to change the effective date of the new policy due to deductibles already accrued by employees.
Following discussion with employees and Saylor Insurance, Koch entertained a motion to rescind the motion made on Monday, Aug. 28, to end the State Employee Health Plan on Nov. 30 and to offer employee health insurance through Saylor Insurance beginning Dec. 1. Glace moved to repeal the action taken on Aug. 28. Koch seconded the motion. Keim expressed concerns with changing the date which would result in a loss of an estimated $27,000 insurance rebate for 2023. An estimated difference in insurance premium of $35,000 for a grand total of $62,000 to change to January versus December. Keim stated that he could not vote for the issue because he did not have the number of employees affected and would prefer to handle this on a case-by-case basis with employees. The motion carried with Glace and Koch voting aye and Keim abstaining from the vote.
The commissioners voted unanimously to end the contract with the State Employee Health Plan on Dec. 31.
The board voted unanimously to contract with Saylor Insurance as our health insurance broker beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
The commissioners held a 20-minute executive session to discuss the hiring of non-elected personnel. Present for the executive session were the Board of Commissioners and County Attorney Brad Lippert. The meeting returned to open session with no action taken by the board following the executive session.
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. Commissioners requested to extend the executive session for an additional five minutes. The meeting returned to open session with no action taken by the board following the executive session.
The board voted unanimously to allow Keim to make an offer and negotiate a contract for the county administrator position.
Commissioners did not meet on Monday, Sept. 4, due to the Labor Day holiday, but did meet in special session on Friday, Sept. 8. These minutes were not available at The Herald’s press time.