Mitchell County Commissioners – Tuesday, September 5, 2023


By Terry Bailey

Due to Monday being Labor Day, a national holiday, the Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their weekly meeting on Tuesday, September 5. All Commissioners and the County Clerk were present.
The Commissioners took time at the beginning of the meeting to express their sympathy to the family of Doug Daugherty. Daugherty, long standing former Mitchell County Sheriff, was remembered as a person who honestly tried to help people in the course of his duty as sheriff.
The major topic of discussion began as an "Oh, by the way comment" from Commission Chairperson, Jim Marshall. He reported that in a matter of passing comment that some constituents had mentioned to him that they had noticed cost overruns on the new County Shop building. Marshall noted that there were a few items that ran into some money when all added together. He posed a question about how this could be avoided in the future County project.
Commissioner Tom Claussen commented, "The cost of the entire project was around $2.5 million, and the amount of the extra expenses was a small percentage of the total amount. It was over somewhat, but this often happens when you are spending over two million dollars."
Marshall added, "This should have been a turnkey operation. Marty Hernandez and his crew drew rough plans of what they wanted, and this was given to the engineers, Schwab-Eaton, and the project architects, the Agora firm from Winfield, Kansas. Something happened from the beginning concept and the final work that was done.
Jesse Benedick, engineer for Schwab-Eaton, was present with Cortney Murrow, County Health Nurse, to discuss the new parking lot project with the Commissioners.
Benedick had not come prepared to discuss the finer details of the engineering work and what was or was not done by Agora.
The Commissioners suggested that Stewart Porter, the County Engineer from Schwab-Eaton, appear next Monday to further examine the situation.
Bendick and Murrow were present with the only bid they received for the concrete work to make the parking lot at the County Health Department ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.
J. Brummer Construction, LLC submitted the only bid for the parking lot. Brummer submitted the bid in two sections. The first was for concrete removal and replacement in the area near the east side of the building. This base bid was in the amount of $88,106.83. The engineer's estimate for that work was $68,870. The second bid included the work in bid #1 and the remainder of the parking lot. The amount of this bid was $193,843.97. The engineers estimate for this work was $156,575.
The Commissioners questioned Benedick about the significant differences between the engineers estimate and the bid submitted by Brummer. Benedick responded that the estimate was put together several months ago when the project was first considered. Concrete is more expensive, labor is more expensive, fuel is more expensive; everything is more expensive. Bendick said the difference between the estimated bids and the submitted bid was in line with the realities of today's world.
The Commissioners directed Bendick to study the bid received by Bummer and report back to them next week.
Kathy Webster and Barbara Wise, representing Pawnee Mental Health, were on hand to request the Commissioners declare the month of September as Mental Health Recovery Month in Mitchell County. Webster told the Commissioners that over 100,000 Americans die each year as the result of drug overdose. Wise said, "When someone suffers from a substance abuse disorder they are not the only one affected. Husbands and wives, parents, children, friends, co-workers; the list goes on and on."
Webster and Wise highlighted the many ways in which Pawnee Mental Health attempts to improve the mental health functioning of those in North Central Kansas.
The Commissioners unanimously signed the declaration.
Murrow had certificates of years' service by County employees for the Commissioners to sign. Those were: Donna Schmidt, 35 years; Gary Sporleder, 25 years; Tammy Eck, 20 years; Cindy Smith, 15 years; and William Lorenz, 10 years.
Alan Eilert, representing Rural Fire District Number Three, reported this staff had located a pumper fire truck in St. Lous that they would like to purchase to strengthen their response capability to respond to fires. The cost was $40,000 with $20,000 being paid for by a Dane Hansen grant and the remanding $20,000 being financed by a loan from the Guaranty State Bank..
Having addressed all the items on the agenda, the meeting was adjourned.


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