By Terry Bailey

The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their regular weekly meeting at the Courthouse Monday morning, March 14. All Commissioners as well as the County Clerk were present.
Stewart Porter, County Engineer, opened the meeting with a question. He asked, "How often do I come to you with good news?" The obvious answer was, "Not very often."
Porter told the Commissioners that he had just received word that the second half of the Causeway project was going to be funded. The project will continue the post and guardrail project from the Causeway bridge south as far as the money allows. Work was completed several years ago to replace the post and guardrail from the Causeway bridge north. A number of grant applicants has been submitted over the ensuing years to complete the project south of the bridge but to no avail. The entire cost of the post and guardrail replacement is estimated to be 2.25 million dollars. Mitchell County's share will be $360,000 and the State of Kansas will pay $1,899,000. Porter said the Kansas Department of Transportation had six million dollars to spend across the state. Everyone was pleased that Mitchell received 30 percent of the money available. The money will not be available until the 2024 fiscal year.
The Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the funding for the project.
Porter then informed the Commissioners that he had performed a quick estimate of the cost to fix up the parking lot at the Health Department so that it would be ADA compliant. The work would include replacing the parking lot concrete on the north side of the building with new concrete which would have heating coils inserted in the cement to keep the surface ice-free. Porter estimated the work would cost $65,000-$75,000. He believed this would be a good project for local contractors.
The Commissioners directed Porter to work up specific plans for the project so they could give final approval and then advertise the project. It was their hope that the work could be completed this summer.
Eri Hamel, director of the Emergency Medical Services, presented his monthly report to the Commissioners. The ambulance service completed a total of sixty-four runs in the month of February. Thirty-eight of the runs were made to Beloit, eleven to Cawker City, eight to Glen Elder, two each to Tipton and Hunter, and one each to Salina, Downs, and Glasco.
The time periods from three to four a.m. and ten to eleven a.m. were the busiest with six runs made during those times. These were followed closely by the nine to ten a.m. period with five runs at that time. Friday was by far the busiest day with eighteen runs that day. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday had nine runs each. The average time from a call being received until an ambulance left the barn is one point eight four minutes.
Hamel also presented the Commissioners with two bids for a Motorola 800 Radio for the Ford Expedition in his fleet. This is the most modern radio available. One bid was from Motorola in the amount of $9,171. The second bid was from Pierce Electronics of Jewell in the amount of $5,189.
The Commissioners directed Hamel to check with David Dohe and Keegan Bailey to see if purchasing a radio such as this might qualify for grant funding.
The Commissioners approved renewing membership in the North Central Kansas Wells and Sanitation planning group. This group performs inspections for wells and septic systems within Mitchell County. The yearly membership fee is $1,500.
Mitchell County sheriff, Tony Perez and Courthouse Director of Maintenance Brian Streit appeared to discuss replacing the hot water heaters at the jail. They do not expect the current heaters to keep providing hot water too far in the future. Currently there are two 250 gallon and two 100-gallon hot water heaters. Replacing these industrial quality units would cost $10,000 each. Hot water is provided for two purposes. Hot water provided for laundry usage must be at two hundred degrees so the laundry can be sanitized. Water for showers and other general usage must be one hundred-forty degrees.
The group discussed the possibility of having one large boiler provide hot water rather than separate units. Commissioner Mike Cooper directed Perez and Streit to research the cost and effectiveness of a boiler unit and report back at a future meeting.
Streit reported that the hydraulic system for the elevator is starting to lose quite a bit of hydraulic fluid. He believes the system needs to be repacked. He had received an estimated in the amount of $5,425.47 to do the repacking. The Commissioners directed him to arrange for the work to be done a soon as possible.
Having addressed all the items on the printed agenda, the meeting was adjourned.