Nemaha County Commission 6.10.2024

Submitted by Mary Kay Schultejans, County Clerk

The Board of Nemaha County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, June 10, in the Commissioner’s Room of the Nemaha County Courthouse. The meeting was called to order with Chairman Ben Glace leading the flag salute. Present also were Commissioners Dylan Keim and Jason Koch, County Administrator Mike Miller, and County Clerk Mary Kay Schultejans recording the minutes Chairman Glace asked for a moment of silence to begin the meeting this morning.

The board set and approved the agenda for the June 10 meeting with County Administrator Miller.

Chairman Glace called for Open Public Forum to begin at 9:15 a.m. No one came before the board to speak during the open public forum. With no one present to speak, Keim moved to end public forum early and begin the Road and Bridge/Solid Waste Report at 9:23 a.m.

Department Reports

Road and Bridge/Solid Waste Supervisor Adam Kuckelman advised the board that:

• Improvements have now been made to B4 Road.

• They have finished rocking the Steele Road at this time.

• They have started blade patching county roads at this time.

• Signage is currently being replaced north of U.S. Highway 36 in the county.

• A new clutch was installed in the chip spreader recently.

• Bridge H-16 has now been poured and will be open to the public on June 19.

• Tony Feldkamp will begin work for the Road and Bridge Department on July 8.

• The Case tractor needs to have the clutch plates replaced on it. Kuckelman stated that Bruna Implement will be doing this work.

• The rates will raise again in July to take trash to Waste Management.

• He would like to remind the public not to put trash with the recyclable items at the Recycling Center located at the county yard.

The commissioners agreed to amend the agenda to add the Sheriff to the agenda at 10:05 a.m.

Sheriff Rich Vernon requested an executive session with commissioners. The board held a five-minute executive session to discuss the performance of non-elected personnel. Present for the executive session were the Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Vernon and Miller. The meeting returned to open session with no action taken by the board following the executive session.

Also at the meeting:

The commissioners agreed to amend the agenda to begin the appointment with Varney and Associates at 9:45 a.m.

April Swartz with Varney and Associates came before the board to present to the commissioners the financial audit for the year ending Dec. 31, 2023. The audit company provided the board with two recommendations. One was to do internal transfers as a journal entry instead of as a check from one department to another. The other was to eliminate the petty cash fund that is used for small expenditures. The audit company did not recommend any adjustments to the numbers for 2023.

The board reviewed and approved the minutes as amended from the June 3 meeting.

Andrew Loeker, with ImagineIT, came before the board to speak to the commissioners about outsourced IT services, including cybersecurity services, that this company could possibly provide for Nemaha County. The board asked Loeker to put together a proposal for IT services for them to consider.

The commissioners called and spoke to County Counselor Brad Lippert by phone. The commissioners talked to Lippert about the resolution requested by S&S Automotive and Towing dealing with abandoned vehicles. The commissioners also spoke to Lippert about the drafting of a contract with Dr. Jarod Snyder and about the road cost-share resolution. The board also spoke to Lippert about having employees sign an agreement with the county if the county is paying for them to obtain their CDL.

Keim moved to a approved Resolution 2024-8, which would add a question to the 2024 General Election ballot to continue the collection of a 1/2 percent sales tax with the money generated to be divided as such: 55 percent to the Nemaha Valley Community Hospital and 45 percent to the Sabetha Community Hospital. Koch seconded the motion.

Glace made the following statement: “The sales tax revenue has increased by roughly 5X [five times] from 2015. Patient locations and preferences have shifted. Some have opted to be treated elsewhere, and correct me if I’m wrong, Commissioner Koch, some in the county are being double taxed, by using a closer facility. Yes, that’s my point, a county wide sales tax seems to be a blunt tool to try and resolve financial issues, while medicare reimbursements and expansion will continue to create financial problems, which make it a business case issue that needs resolved. Additionally, over the past few years, in my opinion, there were critical failures in leadership. Patients were treated with disdain, publicly, that simply advocated for health autonomy, which is very important to me. Since then, and I could be wrong, but I haven’t heard anything, like we’ll do better, or anything of the sort. I believe a sincere and candid conversation between communities and healthcare leaders is sorely needed.”

Keim requested that both hospitals have a yearly meeting with the Board of Commissioners to discuss the amount of funds and where they have been allocated for better transparency to the public since they are receiving sales tax dollars.

Koch commented that per K.S.A. 12-187, this question could have also been added to the ballot per the submission of a valid petition signed by Nemaha County qualified electors. The commissioners signed the resolution as presented.

Following discussion, the motion carried with Keim and Koch voting aye, and Glace voting nay.

During the meeting’s work session, the board reviewed vouchers submitted by the different departments to be paid this week. The board approved the AP warrants to be paid on June 11 as presented.

Also during the meeting’s work session, the commissioners discussed requests received for ARPA funds, bids for the county’s property and liability insurance coverage, the location of a driveway entrance along Old Highway 9, adding budget information to the county website, getting quotes for the striping of county roads, getting pricing for carbide blades for motor graders, possibly providing an office in the Community Building for Nemaha County United 4 Youth, and implementing e-verify for businesses and rental properties in the county.

The next regularly scheduled meeting was held on Monday, June 17. 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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