By Terry Bailey

The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their weekly meeting at the Courthouse on Monday, November 7th. All Commissioners and the County Clerk were present for the meeting.
The published agenda was limited to one item, a presentation by Brian Dilner and Doug Palen regarding the activities of the NCK Outdoors Organization. Dilner was unable to attend the meeting, so Palen updated the Commissioners regarding the activities. Detail of the presentation were not made available to the press.
A group of local citizens representing the Mitchell County Tourism Committee were present to discuss the transient guest tax otherwise known as the bed tax. This is a charge authorized by the State as a method for each County to raise funds to support the local Tourism efforts. The percentage rate varies from County to County. The tax in Mitchell is four percent. For example, if the cost of a room is $50, the bed tax on that room is $2.00 per night. It is a simple and straightforward job to collect the correct amount and forward the money to the Kansas Department of Revenue. Or not.
There are twenty places in Mitchell County that qualify for the collection and submission of the bed tax. Only seven collect and submit the tax on a consistent basis. Who does and does not collect the tax? Because of confidentiality restrictions, that information is not available. County Attorney Mark Noah was present and said that he hopes to send letters to all businesses that qualified to collect and submit the tax on a timely basis and remind them of the need to comply with the provisions of the law. It was hoped that the honor system would help to self-enforce the law.
One possible reason offered for not complying with the law could be a situation where a farmer has maintained a house on his or her farm and each year a few hunters come to stay a few nights during the hunting season. For the remainder of the of the year, the house sits empty. Those folks might honesty believe that in this situation the bed tax would not apply on such a limited activity. It might be an honest misunderstanding of the application of the law. If the situation is made clear to those people, they would most likely readily comply with the law. On the other hand, ignorance of the law is not an excuse for not following it.
Commission Chairperson Mike Cooper said he had taken a drive out on K Road to take a look at the new bridge on the Hazeltine Corner. He had a question or two which Marty Hernandez answered to his satisfaction.
Mitchell County Sheriff Tony Perez stopped by to check in with the Commissioners. Commissioner Jim Marshall representing the southwest part of the County, expressed his deep concern that when sheriff's vehicles pass through Tipton on emergency situations, they often are traveling at a speed much higher than is safe for the situation. Perez said that when officers are responding to emergency situations, time is often a critical factor. He acknowledged Marshall's concern but emphasized that in emergency situations, a few minutes can make a difference in life or death. He assured Marshall that all his officers are trained and experienced in high-speed activities.
Having addressed all the items on the printed agenda, the meeting was counseled.