By Terry Bailey

The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their weekly meeting at the Courthouse Monday morning, May 20. All Commissioners were present as was the County Clerk. The Commissioners faced a full agenda of items to consider.
First up was Terrence Silvia, Director of Communications. Silvia was present to inquire about how the recent hiring freeze would affect his plans to hire a new person to work with the EMS. He had talked to the Commissioners about hiring a new person before they implemented this new policy and had gotten the okay for them for a new hire. Silvia said the EMS is down one person and needs to hire someone to get back up to full staff. When they are short staffed, everyone has to bite the bullet and work extra time to ensure coverage at the Ambulance Service. With being down one Silvia said, "We are able to cover all the spots, but it is not by any means an ideal situation."
The Commissioners gave Silvia that approval to hire a new EMS person to get the staff up to full coverage.
Carol Torkelson from the North Central Regional Planning Commission made an appearance to discuss the distribution of Community Block Grant funds to assist in COVID relief and to assist local businesses in being more resilient as a result of the pandemic. Local businesses had the opportunity to complete paperwork to apply for these funds. She said the paperwork was quite daunting and she believed this kept some businesses from applying. She displayed a sheaf of papers about an inch think as she said, "This is my part of the paperwork. The applicants is not that large, but it still was a formidable task."
Two businesses, Dunstan's Trucking and Trapper Joe's, had cleared all the hoops and their applications were all set to be forwarded for approval. Three other businesses, The Beloit Dairy Queen, Kettle, and Ludwig Chiropractic, need to be cleared for any environmental concerns.
Melinda Bean, acting on behalf of the Mitchell County Fair Board, was present to give their 2025 budget request to the Commissioners. The Fair Board was requesting a 0% increase for the upcoming year. Last year's budget was $32,000 and they were requesting the same amount for the upcoming year.
The Commissioners approved a cereal malt beverage license for off premises consumption for the GE Marina at the Waconda Lake.
Eric and Tyler Dunstan were present and requested a 15-minute executive session with the Commissioners. When the regular session resumed Commissioner Tom Claussen announced the Commissioners were forming a County Solid Waste Planning Commission.
Sheila Nelson-Stout, Executive Director of OCCK, was making her 43rd appearance to report on the previous year's progress and to make a request for their upcoming year's budget. She said the request of 2025 included a one thousand dollar increase in funds.
Nelson-Stout told the Commissioners that OCCK served a record 5,000 individuals last year. OCCK has 94 staff members with 35 located in Beloit. She told the Commissioners that OCCK provides services to many veterans who must travel great distances to VA Hospitals. OCCK is providing Independent Living Services for people who otherwise would need to move out of their homes.
Barb Wise, OCCK Board Member, said there is an increasing demand for transportation services in rural Kansas. If people cannot get transportation for important purposes here, they will move to the larger population centers. OCCK is working hare to provide these needed services.
Kendra Krier, staff member, told the Commissioners she works with the infant and toddler population. She said she worked with 28 little people and their families last year providing necessary services.
The Commissioners discussed continuing membership in the NCKLEPG. This is a seven-county environmental planning group that provides oversight on rural wells and septic systems.
Having addressed all the items on the printed agenda, the meeting was adjourned.


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