Saline County Plans For 2016

The Board of County Commissioners agreed to enter into a Letter of Intent with Heartland Services to fund two Family Consultant positions, that provide “Outreach, Prevention and Early Intervention Services” under a grant. The Health Department currently has two Family Consultants positions; one is vacant. Heartland Services also employs seven Family Consultants. The Commission agreed to supply a $64,279 “match” to fund these two positions.

The Board approved a “hard driving allowance” for the staff at the County Appraiser’s office who must use their own vehicles in order to perform job duties. The change restores the “hard driving allowance” to 50% of the IRS rate. In 2012, then Commissioners set the rate at 38% of the IRS rate. This increases the actual rate by 2 cents/mile and will have a yearly cost of $360. The vote was 3-1, with Commissioner John Price dissenting.
Also at today’s Public Forum:

• Susan Murray, with OCCK’s Community Employment Division, provided an update on their independent living services and the impact of traumatic brain injuries.
• The Commission signed proclamations recognizing this as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month and Radon Awareness month.
• Ray Hruska announced that he protesting the Business Improvement District and wants to bring about its end.
• Karen Shade asked for a formal review of the Health Department’s response to the recent syphilis outbreak.

In the morning, the Commission discussed the impact of changes with the airline. Commissioner Luci Larson will take concerns raised to an Airport Authority meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

In her update, County Administrator Rita Deister said that the Health Department’s roof was inspected on 1/18 and “was given a clean bill of health”. Though the Legislative session is just starting, the County’s request to repeal the “tax lid” imposed by the State on counties is already facing resistance.

County Counselor Mike Montoya provided an update on the annexation question involving Water Well and Burma Road; a judge from Hays will likely travel to Salina to hear the case in February. Montoya also joined a discussion related to 2015’s strategic planning efforts and goals for 2016. Chairman Monte Shadwick advocated for continuing work on what the 2015 Commission put in place; he sees items like the committee to reduce the jail population as on-going. Deister asked if the current (2015-2016) BOCC needs to begin planning for the possibility of a “whole new board”. Commissioner Jim Gile has already expressed interest in running again. John Price said, “I don’t want to run, but I don’t know.” Commissioners talked about resolving the lease issues related to the EXPO Center, creating a small additional court room on third floor, and bringing a variety of Road and Bridge projects to completion in 2016.

Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News

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