By Terry Bailey

The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their regular weekly meeting at the Courthouse Monday morning, April 1. All Commissioners and the County Clerk were present.
Superintendent of Public Works Marty Hernandez reported that after last week's discussion of a boot allowance for the sheriff's department, he was questioned by his employees asking, "Why do they get money for boots, and we don't." Hernandez said, "I had trouble finding an answer that made sense."
Each of the Commissioners said they had received comments by the general public about the boot allowance.
Commissioner Jim Marshall said, "I wanted to vote to end the practice but there were only four of five who got the allowance each year and that was not much money. We vote to spend a quarter of a million dollars for a road grader and nobody says anything. I voted to continue the allowance because it was only about $600 dollars a year and it has been longstanding policy to do so."
The Commissioners decided to leave the policy alone but to stay on top of the situation if action needs to be taken.
In a conversation regarding the cost of insurance and its affect on the budget, it was noted that one strong possibility to save money on the overall cost was to leave a position open when one was vacant.
The question of "Are we top heavy with personnel?" came to light. No hard conclusions were made, but if four recent open positions were not filled, this could amount to a considerable savings rather than budget cuts. The Commissioners decided to monitor this possibility to see if it had merit.
There is a provision in the insurance policy allowing the Commissioners to request the employees to pay up to 5% of the cost of their health insurance rather than the County paying the entire cost. The County could reduce their cost to health insurance by $115,000 per year by having employees contribute.
Terrence Silvia requested a ten-minutes executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. No decision was made as a result of that closed session.
A Neighborhood Revitalization grant was approved for Halley Roberson to remodel the first and second floor of the building located at 204 South Mill, the former location of Kettle. The amount of the grant is $29,650.
A second grant was approved for Ben and Rachel Avery for a building remodel in the amount of $27,500.
Brian Streit, Director of Courthouse Maintenance, had collected three bids for the repair of his truck used for County business. One bid was by Solomon Valley Transmission for $3,199.91. A second bid form Calhoon's was for $4,134. A third bid was from Beloit Motors and was of $4,538.
The Commissioners voted to accept the low bid from Solomon Valley Transmission. They were pleased that Streit had three bids from local businesses.
A Cereal Malt Beverage license was approved for the Family Dollar Store.
The Commissioners recognized receipt of a letter from Judge Kim Cudney notifying them of the of the appointment of Dawn Snyder for the positions of Director of Community Corrections and Juvenile Services for the 12th Judicial District. She will be replacing Wanda Backstrom.
Janelle Kircher, CEO of the Mitchell County Health Services, paid a courtesy visit to discussion activities at the hospital with the Commissioners. She reported that Dr. Banker is once again offering surgery services at the hospital. He will be doing surgery on select days at the hospital. Kircher also told the Commissioners that Dr. Prendergast of Salina will be offering OBGYN services at the hospital
Kircher announced that the hospital is offering meal service to the general public as had been the policy before the COVID pandemic ended all kinds of services everywhere.
Jason Vetter, Director of Noxious Weed containment, gave the Commissioners a bid from Thrasher, Inc to level the concrete floor of the shop/office building. Because his building was built on of what once was the City dump, there has been considerable sinking in the surface underneath his building. Thrasher presented a bid of $11,739.43 to raise the sunken portion of the floor to level with the rest of the floor. Depending on the outcome of this work, part two may be necessary, which is grinding and sealing the surface.
The Commissioner voted to accept the bid and hope that part one will remedy the problem.
The Commissioners voted to declare April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Having addressed all topics on the printed agenda, the meeting was adjourned.