County Deals With Multiple Issues
Karen Shade - March 23, 2016 6:05 am
County Attorney Ellen Mitchell asked County Commissioners to appoint an individual to serve on the Crime Victim Fund Board. This fund compensates qualifying crime victims who suffer property damage and are unable to pay for repairs; the victims must cooperate with law enforcement and prosecution.
Mitchell said that in the past, the fund has been used to repair windshields that have been broken or to replace tires that have been slashed, as well as repair eyeglasses, when a victim has been hit in the face. Without such assistance, the victims may miss work or experience other losses beyond the damage incurred by the crime itself.
The fund is replenished when first time offenders participate in a diversion program and from ordered restitution. Previously, Dave Dunstan from the Sheriff’s Office served on this Board, but he recently retired. Commissioners John Price and Jim Gile both expressed interest in perhaps serving on this committee in an ex-officio capacity.
This Board meets at least monthly, often as needs arise. Interested individuals should go to www.saline.org and fill out an expression of interest form and submit it to the Administrative Resources Center, in the attention of Rita Deister.
Three property owners—Kirk Nelson, Diane Hicks and Sandy Walker–appeared before the Commission to discuss concerns with Link Road, that they previously shared with Commissioner Dave Smith. With much prompting, they requested that the county upgrade the earthen road without further widening it. They are primarily seeking placement of aggregate rock on slightly more than one mile of road. The road is informally judged to be 50’ wide, but the County’s standard for a graveled road is 60’ wide.
Nelson, Hicks and Walker also requested alternatives for paying for this. Initially, Smith had been asked why property owners could not put their own rock on an earthen road the County maintains. In the past, the County has required individuals to remove “rock” they had put on County roads; the rock used didn’t meet standards and was flattening tires. Commissioner John Price said that if the property owners have been paying taxes, this should be taken into consideration. County Engineer Neil Cable noted that terrain changes could impact ditches, which impacts the width of the road.
Commissioners asked Cable to make specific recommendations. Cable’s three page Road Policy Discussion Points can be found at www.saline.org, in the March 22 Commission’s agenda.
Defining Erosion Where Lightville Road Drainage Enters Mulberry Creek
Bruce Wyatt met with Commissioners to express concern that conversations he was having with the Road and Bridge Director and County Engineer were now being responded to with letters from County Attorney, Mike Montoya. A few years ago, the County installed a box to divert runoff from the northern hills that essentially comes down ditches adjoining Lightville Road into Mulberry Creek.
Over time, a water line, maintained by a water district has become exposed. The Water District addressed the issue and in doing so, added to Wyatt’s concerns. Wyatt owns a certified tree farm.
The easement states the county will address erosion, but one concern is whether the County needs to take presumptive measures, before erosion can be assessed. Road and Bridge has already placed rock in the area. County Commissioners will look into the matter further.
County Health Ranking Improves, but Teen Pregnancy and STDS are Problematic
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issues yearly rankings on the relative health of different counties across the nation. In 2015, Saline County ranked as the 72nd healthiest county in Kansas, in 2016, Saline County ranks 61st. Saline County has long scored high on the availability of clinical care (as provided by medical, dental and mental health workers). Historically, Saline County scores lower on socio-economic indicators, such as teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
During the Open Forum, Commissioners directed Brad Bowers, IT Director to go out to bid for 45 desktop computers. Bowers had based his Request for Action on the State bid price for Dell optiplex 3040 computers.
Commissioners also asked EXPO Center Director Rick Lamer to go out to bid for the County’s cost of installing a wheel chair lift in Ag Hall. The County has received a grant to cover some of these costs.