County Voices Frustrations at City

County Counselor Mike Montoya told County Commissioners he’d made oral arguments earlier this morning regarding the City and County’s inability to agree on the interpretation of a statute regarding annexation. For five years, this has been an obstacle in reaching a joint agreement on road maintenance and tipping fees for sections of Burma and Water Well Roads.

Commissioner Luci Larson said “as government bodies, we need to quit suing each other; it sends the message that we don’t want to work together.” When the City and County have disagreements that result in law suits, both Larson and Commission John Price concluded that it is the tax payers who lose.

Price said that when he took office in 2013, he was told by then Road and Bridge Director Dave Nowak that one million dollars’ worth of repairs were needed or else sections of Burma and Water Well Roads would return to gravel. At that time, Price said he was not aware that high use by haulers was resulting in road damage. Price wondered if current City Commissioners were aware of this issue and agreed with the City Manager’s course of action of taking this matter to court. Montoya expressed an ongoing strong preference for establishing road maintenance and tipping fee agreements. Price said he is reluctant to spend additional money on these roads until these issues get resolved.

Changes in Sheriff’s Office in Thirty Years

County Administrator Rita Deister shared with Commissioners a document from 1986 outlining the function and staffing of the Sheriff’s Office along with a staffing report from 12/7/2015. Because of different formats, the 1986 narrative report may not fully reflect all staff position.

In roughly 30 years, the department has grown from 41 officers to over 101 staff, while Saline County’s population has remained nearly stable or declined.

sheriff chart

Since 2011, some of Saline County’s inmates are housed under contractual arrangements, outside of the county. On 1/5/2016, 81 of the 252 inmates were held in contractual housing. Juveniles are now being held in Junction City.
Community Corrections Report

Director Annie Grevas reported that in October/November, Community Corrections supervised a population of 496+ clients and closed over twenty cases each month. On average, 68% of the closed cases reflected successful resolution of probation requirements; while 32% of clients may have been returned to jail/prison. Grevas said that various State Agencies, Court Services, the Municipal Court, as well as her agency may pursue warrants and placement of clients in the jail for “parole violations” that may include being charged with the commission of additional crimes. Community Corrections currently has 21 staff members.

Sign Code Changes

Planning and Zoning Director David Neal updated the Commission on the US Supreme Court’s decision that alters how local entities regulate signs. The Court struck down regulating signs by content (such as having separate requirements for “political signs”, v business signs, v real estate signs). The Sheriff’s Office will have some ability to regulate language used. Neal said the Planning Commission will be taking up this issue and the Commission will hear more about this by March.

Ashen-Brenner Receives Award

Sid Ashen-Brenner was presented with the Kansas Emergency Management Association’s award for outstanding volunteer service. While Ashen-Brenner is a full-time locksmith, at Salina Regional Health Center, he volunteers for both the Civil Air Patrol and emergency preparedness. When there is a threat of severe weather, Ashen Brenner comes to emergency management and covers the amateur radios, freeing up Stambaugh or Bernie Botson to do other activities. His efforts “go above and beyond routine support duties”. Pamela Sanders, KEMA Board President made the presentation, in front of the County Commission.

Miscellaneous Matters

• At Price’s request, the Commissioners will discuss what has resulted from the 2015 strategic plan, separately from conducting strategic planning for 2016. They agreed and asked Mike Montoya to facilitate that session again.
• Commissioners approved a lease for a BobCat at the EXPO Center. They studied bids for three motor graders at Road & Bridge.

On January 20th, three committees will meet:
• Salina Community Economic Development
• The Jail Reduction Committee will be at Noon at the Department of Community Corrections Office on North Santa Fe.
• The EXPO Center Committee will meet in the evening at the EXPO Center.

Commissioner Shadwick was not present for the meeting but did phone in for the R&B motor grader and sign code discussions.

Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News

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