County Frustrated at Dangerous Railroad Crossing

Saline County Commissioners were quick to voice their frustration over the condition of the rail crossing near Scoular Elevator, on east Country Club Road.  They have already sent a letter to the railroad.

The County Engineer looked at the crossing and determined it is dangerous but not a hazard.

Commissioner Monte Shadwick suggested that since this crossing has been problematic for more than 5 years, the County could sue the railroad to get the crossing fixed.  As an alternative, Shadwick also suggested the County could close the road (and thereby close access to the elevator), make the repairs and then bill the railroad.  There was speculation that US Congressman Roger Marshall might be willing to intervene.

Central Kansas Mental Health Center Requests 3-5% Increase in County’s Contribution to their Budget

Kathy Mosher, Executive Director of CKMHC, asked commissioners to consider granting a 3 to 5% increase to CKMHC in the county’s 2020 budget.  Mosher said that Saline County funds CKMHC at a rate of $5.02/per resident while other counties fund their local mental health centers at $7.50/per resident.  Mosher expressed appreciation for the increases Saline County has made in recent budgets to address some of the revenue shortfall at CKMHC.

In a forty minute presentation, Mosher spoke of the increased need for mental health services to address suicide and depression.  In response, CKMHC conducted 10 Mental Health First Aid classes in 2018, which compares to 4 in 2017.  They also have partnered with a school to train school staff to reach out to students.  This new approach has resulted in interventions to stop students who had active plans to commit suicide.  Students being served by this program have better attendance, academic performance and improved behavior.  In addition, other schools are requesting this program.

CKMHC provides outreach services to those at the Saline County Jail.  CKMHC estimates that they saved $256,000 by helping reduce inmate recidivism, reducing how much time suicidal inmates are in isolation, and in reducing the number of behavioral write-ups (which reduces correction officers’ overtime).

The State Legislature made significant funding cuts to area mental health centers over the past two years.  Mosher said that rising labor costs are a big threat to retaining staff.

Hiring an Emergency Management Services Director

With the promotion of Hannah Stambaugh to Deputy County Administrator, the Commission reconfirmed that Bernie Botson is the acting interim Emergency Management Services Director.  County Administrator Andrew Manley said that there has been at least one internal applicant for the EMS Director position as well as 17 external applicants.  The County will begin its interview process and hopes to offer the position in mid-May.

Other Discussions

  • Administrator Manley met with City Manager Mike Schrage and others to discuss easement and annexation issues surrounding the South Water Plant.
  • Manley, Schrage, and Stambaugh also met to discuss draft language regarding the aesthetics of the EXPO Center exteriors in a future lease (that is still being negotiated).
  • Manley updated commissioners on the new change in language regarding 6% beer that is served/sold at some Expo Center events. Anytime a leasee serves/sells alcohol, they must also hire security.
  • Manley updated commissioners on additional budget policies that will be needed for handling federal funds; this is a result of the 2018 audit.
  • Manley received an okay to join the Kansas Association of County Management; dues for the first year are complimentary and will be $210 in the following year.
  • There was one executive session.

 Road and Bridge Update

 Darren Fischel said that “as the weather allows”, his crews are out maintaining roads and “putting crowns back on them”.  Staff have been busy trimming trees.

Commission Chairman Robert Vidricksen and Commissioner Jim Weese attended a Monday staff meeting where Road and Bridge staff received a safety award for working two years safely.

Senior Services Update

 Rosie Walters, Director of Senior Services, told commissioners that the Center received $5,910 in Match Madness, which recently occurred.  There will be a volunteer appreciation dinner April 26th, and they are planning on honoring 200+ participants.  The Center will also be hosting a health fair on May 17; 17 out of 52 spots have already been booked.

Proclamations Issued:

  • April 8-12 is recognized as the “Week of the Young Child”.
  • April is recognized as the National County Government Month.