The Saline County Commission reviewed proposed by-laws for a soon-to-be-formed committee to address jail recidivism. The by-laws are modeled on ones developed for the newly formed Health Advisory Council.
As proposed, the Director of Community Corrections would serve as a voting chair of the committee; Annie Grevas currently holds this position. A County Commissioner (likely Dave Smith) and the Sheriff or his designee would serve as non-voting, ex-oficio members. The six remaining voting members would include the County Attorney, a judge, representatives of the legal profession, community based organizations, community mental health, the faith community, different race/ethnic populations, “citizen-at-large” and a former inmate who is a productive member of society. Committee members could serve a maximum of three, three year terms serving in an advisory role to the Commission.
The committee would be tasked with:
• Assisting the Board of County Commissioners in assessing the strengths and gaps in Saline County Jail systems and helping develop strategies to meet needs.
• Reviewing alternate programs or efforts that may decrease the jail population and keeping the community safe.
• Advocating support for the development and implementation of effective mental health programs and services in the jail.
• Developing recommendations relevant to existing and proposed jail legislation.
• Becoming aware of the formula of various funding sources which support jail services.
• Researching and recommending methods used in similar jails where recidivism and inmate numbers as a percent of the population are lower.
The Commission plans to vote to adopt proposed by-laws at the October 27th Open Forum and would then begin seeking “expression of interest” forms from individuals interested in serving.
The entities involved in creating an Economic Development Organization have submitted comments back to Jason Gage, City Manager. Administrator Rita Deister asked County Commissioners for their thoughts about the latest round of efforts to write by-laws that have a unifying vision:
• The actual EDO will locate in the Chamber of Commerce, but will have a separate entrance and signage.
• The EDO board will be required to review the suitability of the location six months prior to the two year anniversary of the EDO’s formation. The Board would not be required to take action.
• Saline County’s funding for the first year was accepted at the amount budgeted; other EDO partners wanted to see the county’s contribution increase to $50,000 in the third year (like the Salina Airport Authority). Commissioners were unwilling to commit any future County Commission to this level of funding, given the uncertainty of some funding sources and the possible impact of the 2016 local elections.
• The group may be known as the “Salina Community Economic Development Organization”.
Acceptance of Additional Family Planning Grant Funds
The Commission accepted $9,102 in additional family planning grant funds, made available through the State. The monies will be used for salaries and to replace waiting room chairs. The monies will not be used to buy additional birth control medications. Commissioner John Price moved to accept the funds; motion passed 5-0.
Additional individuals have indicated interest in serving on a temporary committee to address plans for the EXPO Center. The City owns the grounds and the County owns the buildings and the lease is due to expire in 2019. Individuals interested in serving on the EXPO committee–who represent “citizens-at-large”, Salina Downtown Development 2020, and the extension service–are encouraged to contact Rita Deister by Friday, October 23.
Tour of Chase County Facilities
Commissioners John Price and Jim Gile toured the jail in Chase County. With a county population of 2,790 residents, the county built a jail to hold 172 inmates. The jail has a census in the seventies; Chase County officials offer space to house overflow from other county jails.
Sean Robertson, Deputy Appraiser, said the Appraiser’s department received a 2015 compliance report from the State and was found to be “significantly in compliance” with both the statistical and procedural methods required by statute.
Chairman Monte Shadwick asked Robertson what happens when a not-for-profit hospital purchases buildings where the owners previously paid property taxes. Salina Regional Health Care’s purchase of a Sunflower Bank building on Ohio was mentioned; this building will eventually hold the Comcare medical practice. Robertson confirmed that these kind of properties come off the tax roll. A concerned citizen commented to Shadwick that the resulting tax loss “could be a big number”. Later that afternoon, Tom Bell, Vice President of Salina Regional Health Care confirmed that when Salina Regional purchases buildings, those buildings are no longer assessed property tax.
• Lieutenant Sean Kochanowski reported that on average, nine juveniles are detained in a Junction County facility over the past month. Sheriff’s staff made 21 trips to Junction City during this time.
• Following an executive session, the Commission voted 5-0, to offer an applicant for a truck driver position and place the new hire at Grade 8, step 3 of the pay scale.
• Commissioner Luci Larson will experiment with a Kindle Fire HD 10 device purchased for $260 with the intention of reducing the amount of paper printed and sent to Commissioners. Discussion related to whether individual commissioners should purchase their own devices and the ability to sync other devices to the County’s e-mail system.
Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News
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