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Economic Development Discussions Dominate County Meeting

KSAL Staff - September 22, 2015 3:42 pm

While the City, County and Airport Authorities all financially contribute to an Economic Development Organization (EDO), some disconnects surfaced in e-mailed plans. Early discussion placed the EDO office at the Airport Authority; then it was given space at the Chamber of Commerce. A September 15 e-mail from Salina City Manager Jason Gage suggested the EDO office would be located downtown. Gage’s same e-mail suggested that the County’s financial contribution would increase from $20,000 to $50,000. The County’s 2016 budget contains $35,000 in support for the Chamber of Commerce. County Administrator Rita Deister was surprised by details in Gage’s e-mail.

On the related matter of what economic development is generated by events at the Expo Center, a letter from Sylvia Rice, of VisitSalina, estimated that attendees of the 2014 Charity Horse Show spent up to $185164 during the course of the five day show (for lodging, fuel, meals, etc.). This is just one of many horse shows hosted by the Expo Center each year.

Salinans to Talk about Criminal Justice

TalkSALINA will hold its first public deliberation on criminal justice issues at one of two sessions on October 7. Both sessions are open to the public.

• At 4:00 PM session at the Community Learning Center at 308 W Elm.
• At 7:00 PM session at the Chamber of Commerce at 120 W Ash.

Contacted separately, organizer Thea Nietfeld said, “some say we need a bigger jail while others say jails don’t help. Some people say we need more programs for changing behavior and others say those are too expensive. Some say we need system changes so minor offenses and drugs don’t lead to jail time while others want to stay with what we have. There are many views of what’s next and that’s what we need to talk about.”

Key individuals will meet again on November 5 to review results from October 7th and move the process forward.

The Cost of Sending Meeting Packets

Preliminary estimates show $2,877 will be spent annually to print paper copies of meeting agendas and supporting documentation and then mail these to Commissioners. Deister asked if the Board had interest in using tablets as alternatives. She was directed to explore options further. During Open Forum, Ray Hruska estimated that from the costs presented, the cost to make a photocopy of one page is 7 cents, which is considerably less than what citizens pay when they request copies of county documents ($1 .00 for the first page and $0.25 per page thereafter). Karen Shade asked if the preliminary estimate excluded costs of packets mailed to citizens at the citizen’s request.

Open Forum

Shanna Sowers, Workforce Solutions Director with OCCK explained how one branch of OCCK helps find community-based, competitive work for people who have barriers to employment. In 2014, 100 individuals from the region received assistance, with 60 of them living in Salina.

Annie Grevas, Community Corrections Director submitted Corrections FY15’s outcomes to the Commissioners, for their signature, as the report will be forwarded to the State. The local program met goals of increasing, by 3%, Correction’s successful completion rate and by establishing an administrative level of offender supervision, thereby focusing limited staff time on high risk offenders. The Board also approved requests to carryover funds for both juvenile and adult services. Grevas recognized Loren White, who donated multiple gift certificates to the Heart of Dixie restaurant to serve as Drug Court awards.

The Board formally adopted amendment #42 to Resolution #1254 which changes the airport’s name to the Salina Regional Airport. It removes non-precision instrument approaches; it updates the code to reflect current FAA terminology and incorporates by reference specific airport drawings.

The Board adopted Resolution #15-2177 that appoint the following to the Saline County Health Department Advisory Council:
• Dr. David Dupy, Council Chairman
• Amanda Michaelis, Council Member
• Tom Bell, Council Member
• Dr. Glenn Engelland, Council Member
• Dr. Jacob Hodges, Council Member
• Ron Kramer, Council Member
• Gwenda Philbrook, Council Member
• Jason Tiller, Ex Officio/Parliamentarian
• Monte Shadwick, Ex Officio/County Commissioner
On September 15, the Board appointed Elizabeth Bonilla but she was not able to serve, so they appointed Gwenda Philbrook.

In other items of business, the Commission:
• Signed the contract to operate the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (better known as the WIC Program)
• Reviewed applications for Director of the Expo Center and discussed interviews. This was completed during a 15 minute executive session; the position was recently vacated by Phil Penn.
• Received bound copies of the audit.

Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News

Juanita Ramirez

September 22, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Well I see John Price kept his big mouth shut and didn’t offend several groups of minorities in this meeting…..about time.
Salina needs to vote that old, white, redneck bigot out of office next election for sure.
He is a disgrace….makes the Saline County Commisson the laughing stock of the country.

Doug Clemens

September 23, 2015 at 8:37 am

What is your problem Ramirez? Evidently from your comments you are a racist. Further since you live in Mcpherson and not Salina why would you care what Price says or does not say? Evidently you are a troll.

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City of Salina