Monday May 15th Mitchell County Commissioners Meeting


Mitchell County Commissioners


Monday, May 15, 2017


By Terry Bailey



The Mitchell County Commissioners met on Monday morning, May 15th, to oversee the governance of Mitchell County. All Commissioners were present as was the County Clerk.


Appearing first on the agenda was Robbin Cole, executive director of Pawnee Mental Health. Cole is visiting with the County Commissioners in each of the 12 counties served by Pawnee as she does each year. Cole said that over the last four years Pawnee has witnessed continual eroding of their income. They have experienced a 50% drop in grant funding. The state mandate on admissions to the Osawatomie State Hospital has dictated expensive hospitalization in non-psychiatric institution. Insurance companies have became more and more selective of what services they will pay for.


Cole said, “This is the smallest revenue year we have ever had.” Pawnee took in 11.6 million dollars in 2016 but had expenses of 12.9 million. Cole said, “When money started to tighten up, we tighten our belts and waited to better times to return. They have not yet returned.”


It appears that one of the major blows to solvency was a 4% cut across the board to Medicaid funding. Because a large percentage of Pawnee’s patients are Medicaid funded, this was a strong cut.


The bottom line is that Mitchell County usually contributes $47,000 and Cole is requesting a contribution of $63,000 for the upcoming budget year. She is making similar increases in funding by each county.


I have to ask,” said Cole. “I understand money is tight everywhere but if we do not get increased revenue, we will have to start cutting programs and services.”


The Commissioners assured Cole they would do the best they could but they were operating under a budget lid, making it hard to increase funding for many good programs.


Dale Housh, Superintendent of Public Works, updated the Commissioners on the Countywide Cleanup program. He said 140 tickets were written for people bringing refuse to the Landfill on Saturday. He reported that there was still money in the Hansen grant and it was not too late for people to load things up and bring them out.


Housh and the Commissioners discussed the Causeway widening and guardrail work project that has been in the works since 2014. The project originated with the Commissioners seeking grant money to widen part of the Causeway road and to replace the guardrail posts and cable. The Bureau of Reclamation office is in Colorado. It seems as if each time Mitchell County receives information from that office, things have changed from past understanding. One time it is this and the next time it is that. Originally the total cost of the program was $909,000 with Mitchell County’s share being $124,000.


Housh told the Commissioners that there were numerous township bridges will soon need replacing. He talked with Stewart Porter and they discussed the idea of replacing these old, small township bridges with galvanized culverts instead of new bridges. They will continue studying that line of thought.


Kelly Hawk, Emergency Medical Service Director, gave his monthly report to the Commissioners. The EMS made 53 runs in the month of April with 43 of those in the city of Beloit. The most runs occurred from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday was the busiest day with 10 or the 53 runs made on that day. Of the 53 calls to which the EMS responded, 42 of the patients were transported. Of all these calls, in 83% of the time the ambulance arrived at the scene within five minutes of getting the call. The age groups of 50-59 and 80-89 were the most common. Last year at this time the EMS had conducted 199 runs. Currently this year the EMS has conducted 200 runs.


The Commissioners appointed Barb File to the County Planning Commissions.


The Commissioners and Hawk discussed a door on the ambulance barn. It seems as if sometimes the door and the ambulance occupy the same space at the same time, resulting in the door becoming bent. Hawk will assess the situation and review more effective procedure with his drivers.


Having addressed all items on the agenda, the meeting was adjourned.

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