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Agriculture Business Eyeing Salina Expansion

Todd PittengerJune 10, 2020

Saline County Commissioners received details about a business which is looking at expanding into the Salina area.

Executive Director of the Salina Community Economic Development Organization Mitch Robinson presented information at the Saline County Commission meeting about an Agriculture Retail
business that is looking at building a store on S. 9th Street in the County. This business would service and sell tractors, ATV’s, jet skis, and other Ag related equipment. It has a retail site in Hutchinson and is looking at expanding to a Salina location. The  business is seeking for commissioners to issue Industrial Revenue Bonds which would contain tax breaks. Commissioners
asked to have further information brought to them by staff about this process and the effects that it could potentially have on the County.

In other business:

Sheila Beeson with DVACK read a proclamation in which Commissioners declared June 2020 as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. According to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 10 seniors experiences mistreatment or abuse in the U.S. It is also estimated that throughout the United States, elders lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation. Ms. Beeson announced that they will have an online training on June 15th from 1 pm – 2 pm and more information can be obtained by calling them at 785-827-5826 or visiting their Facebook site.

Justin Mader, County Engineer, presented a request for a culvert replacement on Salemsborg Road, just west of Holmes Road. This would replace a culvert that is
currently significantly undersized and has had many problems with erosion. It is planned that a 10 x 40 ft. steel pipe would be put in at a total project cost of $53,623.27. Working
with the landowners and the farmers in the area, this project will start no earlier than July 15th and be completed by the end of August. Commissioners awarded the project to T&R Construction.

Phillip Smith-Hanes, County Administrator presented a request to approve a WorkforceOne CEO Agreement. There are 62 counties in the central and western parts of the State that are a part of this agreement. The current agreement was issued in 2016 and expires the end of this month. Commissioners approved the agreement that continues to provide for Saline County to be represented.

Smith-Hanes continued discussion with ongoing preparation for the 2021 budget. Department operational budgets and Technology Improvement Projects were discussed at a special meeting on May 27th. Tuesday’s discussion revolved around Capital Improvement Projects and Equipment Improvement Projects.

  • Equipment Improvement Projects – the Sheriff’s Office submitted a total of $315,274 in requests, Road & Bridge submitted $721,738 in requests (that would be split between two funds).
  • The Countywide Capital Improvement Plan fund – had a balance of $7,681,415 at the beginning of 2020. Eight projects totaling $2,135,000 are planned to be done in 2020 and $2,035,794 is reserved for projects that were identified in previous years but haven’t been completed yet. For 2021, there were project requests submitted, for a total of $1,370,500 and $3,842,000 submitted for subsequent years (2022 – 2025).
  • The Expo Capital Improvement Fund and Noxious Weed Capital Fund all have funds in them, but no project requests were submitted.
  •  The Health Department Capital Fund had $8,500 in requests submitted for 2021 and $25,149 in future-year requests.Commissioners discussed the funds that have been previously allocated for Expo Center improvements and Phillip Smith-Hanes explained that those funds are included in the over $2 million that was reported as reserved for projects that had not been completed yet. Commissioners directed the County Administrator to proceed with these requests as part of the 2021 budget preparations for now, but do wish to discuss them in further detail soon.

Smith-Hanes provided his weekly update to the Commissioners with the following items:

  • A report on the special legislative session which resulted in the passing of one bill that made amendments to the Emergency Management Act. The Governor did announce yesterday that she did sign the bill.
  • The property tax reform bill that the Governor vetoed did come up in their special session but failed to make it to the Senate floor. That bill is dead.
  • The Governor formed a recovery team committee known as “SPARK” which met last week to discuss further the CARES Act funding that the State will be receiving to pass down to counties. Saline County has the potential of receiving $8-$10 million; however, the requirements that come along with that funding is not known at this time. There are some lingering questions regarding this funding and the oversight of it. Saline County will continue to work closely with the Kansas Association of Counties to obtain further information as it becomes available.

Commissioner Sparks reported on the decision of the Tri-Rivers Fair Board to hold the Tri-Rivers Fair this year.

Other Announcements:

The Kansas County Clerks and Election Officials Association awards scholarships annually to Kansas high school seniors. The scholarships are for those students who plan to major in Journalism, Political Science, Communications, or Business. A Saline County student, Gabriella Fischer, was one of the 12 scholarship recipients awarded through the KCCEOA. Ms. Fischer graduated from Salina Central High School in 2020 and will be attending the University of Kansas majoring in Political Science.

Saline County Department of Senior Services has received a total of $27,000 in donations and grants in the past few months. These funds have assisted in the purchasing and delivery of commodities to Meals on Wheels recipients and the purchase of personal protective gear and cleaning supplies. The Senior Center is slated to reopen on June 22nd with limited capacity and modified operations to keep patrons and staff safe. For questions on their reopening, please call 785-827-9818.

McCune Foundation – $10,000
Middlekauff Foundation – $5,000
Milton I & Francis L Stiefel Foundation – $5,000
Greater Salina Community Foundation – $5,000
Dillon’s/Kroger – $2,000



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