County Discusses Expo Center Improvements

Discussions from the County’s committee to identify what changes might be made to improve the functionality and appearance of the EXPO Center dominated Tuesday’s meeting. Making these improvements are conditional on whether the City Commission extends its lease on this property to the County beyond 2018.

Among the needs identified:

• Creating a covered warm-up arena; if this arena also included 150+ stalls, then it would be possible to tear down two smaller barns.
• Improving restrooms in a variety of locations.
• Burying utilities, especially along the street, to increase visual appeal.
• Providing better ventilation in the Ag Hall.
• Replacing doors.
• Cleaning up the dog walk and possibly relocating a pile of dirt used by the BI-Centennial Center.
• Inviting Master Gardeners to do various projects to beautify the grounds.

This committee will meet again in January. Chairman Monte Shadwick asked that by early 2016, the committee prioritize projects as well as how any money for improvements might be spent. Guy Walker joined the group and represents Salina Downtown 2020.

Sheriff’s Update

When Sheriff Glen Kochanowski appeared to discuss the renewal of the jail’s food service management company contract with CBM Managed Services, he announced that a few inmates had succeeded in making hooch in the kitchen, in a container used to transport water.

The contract’s meal prices reflect a 3.1% increase in food costs as determined in the Consumer Price Index. Given that the Sheriff plans to keep the jail’s census between 161-170 inmates, this means the jail will likely pay $1.439 per meal served. This is a 4.2 cent increase from 2015’s meal price of $1.397.
CMB Managed Services provides a full-time supervisor and two part-time employees on-site. On average, 8 to 10 inmates assist with the preparation and service of each meal.

CBM Managed Services is used in 25 county jails. CBM’s dietitians plan nutritionally adequate meals; specialists assist with purchasing, while others provide supervision over the food service operation. Meal price fluctuates with census. Mitchell County’s jail uses Consolidated Food; Reno County is doing a self-operated program in its new jail. Sedgwick County’s jail pays $1.17/meal, but likely has a census of 1,000+ inmates.

The meals provide 2,800 calories and the Sheriff compared the food waste with that of meals served in schools. Inmates may informally swap foods they don’t intend to eat with another inmate. Inmates who desire “chips” and other snack foods can purchase them at the commissary (which is not contracted to CBM Managed Services).

The Sheriff also discussed the possibility of sharing costs with the Salina Police Department for a gun range, firing facility and training.

Smoking Cessation Program for Pregnant Women

Sherri LaFollette, Maternal Child Health Coordinator, told the Commissioners of a $5,000 grant the health department has received to promote smoking cessation among pregnant women and their partners. In Saline County, 20.0% of pregnant women smoke during their pregnancy, which is higher than the State average of 13.9%. If the woman alone, or the woman and her partner smoke, they can agree to take part of smoking cessation classes. Compliance with quitting will be measured by having the woman (and possibly her partner) breathe into a carbon monoxide measuring device. Those who are successful in reducing their CO levels receive a $25/month diaper voucher; they can return monthly, and if still compliant, earn another voucher for up to a year after the birth of the child. LaFollette said that smoking is linked with premature births; one day in a neonatal intensive care unit can cost $52,000. The Commissioners will vote on accepting this grant at next week’s Open Forum.

Open Forum

Ray Hruska asked that the Commissioners’ December 1st parliamentary procedure training be moved to Room 107 and that it be televised by ACCESS. Chairman Shadwick said he would see if this could be arranged. Besides the Commissioners, other County Boards may attend the training, which will also be open to the public. The training is scheduled for 1:00 PM but check future agendas to confirm the time.

Karen Shade spoke of November 23rd as being the National Public Health Thank You Day and acknowledged the role of health department staff, bicycle enthusiasts, and the new Food Council in working to improve the public’s health.

Shade also thanked Commissioner Jim Gile for the exemplary level of service he has demonstrated over the past year. She mentioned Gile’s excellent attendance record, how he is often the first one at a meeting, that he reads his e-mails sent to “”, that he knows all the roads and bridges as well as many people. She described Gile as part ambassador and part sentinel. Last November, when there was much uncertainty about what the expanded board might bring, Gile was a voice of reassurance. Shade acknowledged that while she holds some ideological views that differ from Gile’s, that that is the domain of elections. She is thankful of the meritorious service Gile provides.

Miscellaneous Matters

• Monte Shadwick thought Lloyd Davidson might submit an “expression of interest form” to serve as one of two County representatives on the Salina Community Economic Development Organization.
• Commissioners approved the purchase of three network computer switches from low bidder ISG Technologies, for $14,072. These will be installed on the third floor.
• Marilyn Leamer provided a Human Resources update that included discussions on the “illness and disability pool” and performance pay plans.
• Danielle Brown submitted an “expression of interest form” to serve on the committee tasked with reducing the jail population.
• County Appraiser Sheryl Sammons has submitted plans to host a CLASS on Property Appraisals at the Salina Public Library sometime in March; watch for CLASS announcements in January.
• Commissioner John Price was absent as was Don Merriman (but County Clerk staff took minutes). The Commissioners went into executive session three times, essentially from 10:00 – 11:00 AM.

Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News

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