County Prevails in Annexation Suit

County Counselor Mike Montoya updated Saline County Commissioners on Judge William Elliot’s ruling that requires the City to annex nine segments of county road or put them on order to be annexed.  Four of these road sections surround the Salina Landfill.  Montoya added that these roads are so well traveled, that the City should proceed with annexation.

Elliott ruled that there is no difference between an easement and a right-of-way.  The City has maintained there is substantial distinction between the two and that it could not be required to annex the roads in question.

Montoya said the County is more than willing to negotiate a road maintenance agreement with the City.  He said that tipping fees, generated at the landfill, were not part of the lawsuit.

While the City has 30 days to appeal the December 7th ruling, Montoya said the City has no requirement to appeal.

On the topic of RFD#2’s plans to build a new fire station in Assaria, Montoya said the rural fire department could issue its own bonds, if the total value of those bonds doesn’t exceed 5% of the total assessed valuation of the district—of $36.5 million.  He noted the cost of issuing bonds could be $10,000, which could be offset by lower interest payments.  He is also getting additional information on a lease agreement option.

Planning and Zoning Named as Administrative Agency of Sanitation Code

In a 4-0 vote, Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution that allows the County Commission to name the Planning and Zoning Department as the administrative agency for the county’s sanitation code.  Prior to today’s actions, the Saline County Health Department had been named as the administrative agency.

Commissioners made this change in 2015.  Planning and Zoning Director David Neal said that for the State to approve this change, the State had to look at all of the county’s sanitation code.  That process has taken time to accomplish.

Commissioner John Price said that when individuals come to Planning and Zoning to build or remodel a property, they can do all they need at that one office.  Price said the change eliminated half of a full-time position and saved the county money.

Hybrid Communicable Disease / PHEP LPN Position Considered

Using available Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) grant funds, Health Department Director Jason Tiller is seeking Commission approval to hire a full-time licensed practical nurse (LPN) who will be headquartered at the Health Department.

If approved, the LPN will take over some responsibilities for tracking communicable diseases, will provide immunizations to WIC participants when they are there for their WIC appointments, and will provide some “redundancy” in the event of an outbreak.  Tiller said he would retain responsibility for traveling to PHEP meetings and trainings.  Tiller said there were 698 sexually transmitted disease investigations this year.  This new position will have responsibilities for dealing with ZICA related concerns.

Commissioner Jimi Gile reminded the commission that immunizations and communicable diseases are two functions any health department must provide.

Commission Re-Appoints RFD Board Members

Commissioners unanimously reappointed these individuals to serve as the Board of Trustees for their respective fire departments:

  • RFD#1: Rod Ade, David Nilson and Dennis Schwarz
  • RFD#2: Clayton Short, Dave Sommerfeld and Bobby Yates
  • RFD#3: Scott Abker, Mark Lass, and Tait Walker
  • RFD#5: David Griffith and Justan Thrower
  • RFD#6: Mike Dimitri and Larry Hall
  • RFD#7: Joe Walker, Jason Wood and Shane Komarek

They are all reappointed for a term beginning January 1, 2017 and ending December 31, 2020.

Commissioners also unanimously approved appointing Riley Hawbaker to serve a two year appointment to the Board of Trustees of RFD #2.

During Open Forum, Commissioner Dave Smith thanked all the Board of Trustees as well as firefighters for the time they provide the rural fire departments.

In other matters, Commissioners:

  • Directed Tiller to go out to bid to replace heating and cooling equipment at the health department that was installed in 1993.
  • Learned that recent improvements to the Road and Bridge building are generating a $150-200/month decrease in its utility bills.
  • Heard a request to purchase four core switches for the county’s data center. One vendor is offering “aftermarket” switches, at a $7,000 savings.  Computer Technology Director Brad Bowers researched “aftermarket” switches and found they come with a life-time warranty.  If approved, Bowers would send the existing switches to the Sheriff’s Office.
  • Considered the merits of asking the city’s fire marshal and building inspector to re-inspect the Road and Bridge building; a 2015 inspection identified concerns with lights, ventilation and doors that have since been corrected.
  • Learned that the City had not responded to the County’s proposal for extending the lease on the EXPO Center. The County had asked for a response by December 6th.  City Manager Jason Gage acknowledged receipt of packets assembled for City Commissioners in a November 22 e-mail.
  • Signed a lease renewal agreement for a Bobcat excavator.

Commissioner Monte Shadwick was absent.  Commissioners elect Robert Vidrickson and Rodger Sparks attended both the study session and open forum; Jim Weese attended the study session.