By Terry Bailey

The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their regular meeting at the Courthouse Monday morning, March 4. All Commissioners and the County Clerk were present. Also attending the meeting was Mitchell County resident Valerie Walter. Ms. Walter said she was attending the meeting to increase her understanding of how the County government operated. The Commissioners thanked her for her interest.
Three Neighborhood Revitalization grants were approved. One was to Stephanie Chancellor in the amount of $39,688 for a 16' x 28' attached garage. The second was to Robert Gentry for a 32' x 40' garage in the amount of $69,2823. The third grant was to William (Bill) Wendell for 32'x 60' building in the amount of $36,975.
Missy McGinnis, Director of the Emergency Medical Services, were present with four of her ambulance staff members. McGinnis reported ongoing problems with one of the ambulances. The low coolant light keeps coming on. The head gaskets were replaced on this ambulance and the problem was resolved for a period of time, but it has now been returned. She reported the motor is continually losing coolant. One mechanic suggested replacing both head gaskets at a cost of $10,000. It is a diesel motor with about 180,000 miles. Commission Chairperson Tom Claussen suggested that McGinnis check on the cost of long block replacement. She will do so and report back to the Commissioners on the cost. The rest of the ambulance is in good shape. The new ambulance ordered a few months ago will not be delivered until 2026.
There was discussion on whether or not to respond to calls from Osborne county. The Commissioners had worries that the Mitchell County ambulance service might respond to a call in Osborne County when a call came in from a Mitchell County address. They will continue to deliberate on the best course of action.
Jason Vetter, Director of the Mitchell County Noxious Weed program, was present to deliver his annual report and his plans for the upcoming year. He said, "Next year's plan is very similar to the plans for the previous years-kill all the bad weeds we can get to."
In the past some attention had been given by his department to the planting of native wildflowers in the County roadsides. When asked about his plans on the project he reported that he had not focused on wildflowers.
Vetter also reported that some counties are using drones to spray noxious weeds. This seems to be a new use of this emerging technology. At this point this method of weed control is in the beginning stage but he believes it will continue to expand
Vetter reported his 2016 Ford truck is having problems with the check engine light coming on intermittently for no apparent reason. He also reported his 16-year-old GPS controller is not working effectively;. He speculated that the age of the controller and the changes in the GPS system since it was installed may have something to do with the problem. The Commissioners suggested he check into the cost of swapping out the current controller with a new one.
Sheriff Tony Perez was present to report that with the building of the new jail in Salina, Saline County is no longer sending prisoners to Mitchell County for housing. At this point the population in his jail is significantly reduced. He speculated that the Saline county jail will reach its maximum population and that Mitchell County will then be housing their excess numbers
Perez told the Commissioners that he had replaced the 16-year-old tasers used by himself and Deputy Lance Bergman.
He also reported the department's 2021 Tahoe vehicle was out for an engine replacement. The cost would be $7,000 and would have a 100,000-mile warranty.
Having addressed all the items on the printed agenda, the meeting was adjourned.


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