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Story Photo



By Terry Bailey

The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their regular weekly meeting at the Courthouse, Monday morning, May 6. All Commissioners and the County Clerk were present.
The Commissioners, along with the Superintendent of Public Works Marty Hernandez, announced an open house would be conducted on for the recently constructed County Shop Building on Friday, May 10, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to stop by and take a look at the new facility.
The Commissioners approved two cereal malt beverage licenses for the Seven Stars, LLC Convenience Store near the entrance to Glen Elder State Park. One license was for off premises consumption, and one was for on premise consumption.
Heather Weston, Mitchell County Clerk, presented the Commissioners with all documented paperwork regarding the recent mail-in bond election for USD #273 School improvements. The final bill for the bond issue vote that did not pass was $10,180.73.
Commissioner Tom Claussen commented, "The Mitchell County taxpayers will pay the bill, one way or the other."
David Dohe, Mitchell County Emergency Preparedness Director, requested a twenty-minute executive session to discuss cyber-security. No decisions were made as a result of this closed session.
Marty Hernandez presented two bids to the Commissioners for a 15-foot pull type mower. One mower was a John Deere brand mower with a list price of $44,785. Carrico's was allowing $13,882 for a trade in for a sale price of $30,903.
Carrico's submitted a second bid for a Rhino brand mower with a list price of $52,106. They were allowing a trade in of $24,447 resulting in a final sale price of $28,522. The Rhino brand is considered a much stronger unit. The Commissioners voted to accept the bid on the Rhino mower.
Missy McGinnis, Director of the Emergency Medical Services, told the Commissioners that she had looked at the building owned by Becker Auto and Trailers located near the Super 8 Motel. The EMS has planned to expand their current building but were taking a look at the Becker building because it will soon become vacant. The sale price for the 65'x100' building is $750,000. This was an amount that was out of the County's price range.
McGinnis brought several EMS employees and her two new Stryker Stair Chairs. These will be used to move patients up and downstairs as they are transported for medical care. The cost for both chairs was $32,000. Local donors provided contributions of $8,000 toward the purchase. Commissioner Mike Cooper volunteered to help demonstrate how the chairs are operated.
McGinnis requested a ten-minute executive session to discuss patient confidentiality. No decisions were made as a result of this closed session.
Jeremy McGuire, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Representative, was present to discuss health insurance costs. The prevailing logic is that the current Health Insurance plan is a very good plan that was "grandfathered" in several years ago and is no longer available on the open market. Should the County choose to drop this plan, it could not be reinstated. However, the cost continues to rise considerably each year. In the past insurance year, the loss ratio was 1.21%. This means for every dollar paid in in premiums, the cost of insurance was one dollar and twenty-one cents. The year before the loss ratio was 1.12%.
One thought in dealing with the situation is to hold open vacant postitions with the county labor force as a cost saving measure. Also, requesting employees contribute one hundered dollars per month toward the cost of health insurance is a consideration.
County Clerk Heather Weston cautioned the Commissioners, "If you are serious about not refilling vacant employee positions, you should make this policy decision clear to everyone."
This will continue to be an ongoing process.
Having addressed all the items on the printed agenda, the meeting was adjourned.


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