The Board of County Commission (BOCC) for Washington County met in regular session on Monday, June 30, 2014 in the commission room at the Washington County Courthouse. Members present: Alison Mueller, 1st District Commissioner, Chairman; Roger Otott, Vice Chairman, 2nd District Commissioner; and Gary Ouellette, 3rd District Commissioner. Denae Dimler, County Clerk, was present to record meeting minutes.
Next regular meeting will be Monday, July 7, 2014 at 8:30 A.M.
Chairman Mueller called the meeting to order.
Janice Kearn, County Health Administrator, was present to discuss the future of the Health Department facility. Chairman Mueller said that she had made phone calls exploring the option of building a new facility. All the information she received indicates a new building will exceed $1 million and many residents of the County have approached all Commissioners indicating they are not in favor of borrowing more money at this point. Chairman Mueller asked Kearn if she would be happy with remodeling an existing building. Kearn replied that if that were her only option then she would be willing to remodel an existing building. Commissioner Otott replied that local businessmen have also indicated they would like to see the County remodel an existing building. Chairman Mueller said if the County does have to borrow money she doesn’t want to borrow more than $500,000. Commissioner Ouellette said he will not approve exceeding the funds that have already been set aside and suggested if there isn’t enough set aside to finish the project then the project could be done in phases. Kearn said she gave floor plans to a local contractor who will be furnishing estimates on remodeling an existing building. The Board is waiting to receive a bid invitation from the County Attorney for an existing building. In the meantime, the Board told Kearn to go ahead and do minor repairs that are needed in the current building.
Dimler presented information on the implementation of employee time clocks. No action was taken. Dimler asked for additional phone lines in the Courthouse. Each department in the Courthouse only has one phone line and it isn’t enough because many callers get a busy signal when calling the Courthouse. The Board approved the addition of two lines. Dimler presented the 2013 year-end financial statement.
The Board received correspondence from FEMA regarding the proposed flood hazard determinations. They also received a letter from the Kansas Department of Revenue showing the results of the 2013 real estate appraisal/sales ratio study for Washington County.
Ann Hawk, County Treasurer, reported that no one in her office has attended the commercial vehicle training. Hawk said no classes are currently being offered but someone from her office will go as soon as a class is offered. Commissioner Ouellette said they were promised someone would be taking the class by the end of the year and he wanted to make sure that happens.
Lyle Peterson, Kansas Department of Commerce, was present to offer information about the Rural Opportunity Zone. Rural Opportunity Zones offer financial incentives like income tax waivers and student loan repayments to new full-time residents. Peterson said he feels this is a key to recruiting kids to come to this County after they leave to get post-secondary education. Peterson presented a report on the return on investment for Washington County if they were to join the program. His calculations showed that for every dollar the County spends, they would receive $6.75 back in wages spent locally, property and sales tax received, and school aid if the person who joins the program has children in secondary education within the County. Commissioners Otott and Ouellette indicated they still don’t like the idea that they couldn’t pick the person who receives the benefit of this program. Dimler said it really isn’t fair to anyone if the recipient is handpicked by the Commissioners and that the student loan program is already set up to benefit kids who need the funds to attend college. She said the kids who have parents with higher incomes don’t qualify for student loans; therefore, this program will not benefit those kids because they can’t get student loans in the first place. Commissioner Otott made a motion to participate in the program but not contribute any funds. Motion died due to a lack of a second. Peterson said he felt it was important for the County to show they are behind the project by putting some money toward the program. The County can contribute up to $1500 per year per student. Once the County contributes and a student qualifies for the program, employers in the County can join the program and can also contribute up to $1500 per year per student. Peterson also said that residency is verified every year, KDOC requires the student to send payment verification, and that all student loans must be in the student’s name and not the parent’s name. Commissioner Ouellette said he was willing to contribute toward one participant for 2015 and then reevaluate after one year. Commissioner Otott made a motion to participate in 2015 and contribute $1,000 toward the program. Commissioner Ouellette seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Justin Cordry, Sheriff, reported he hired a new Jailor, Antonio Perez, and asked for a higher starting salary because Perez had already attended the jail academy in Salina and has worked for the Marshall County Jail. Chairman Mueller signed payroll change notice for Perez. Cordry reported there are currently 7 Washington County inmates in the jail. The Dodge Ram that was ordered last February has been delivered. The Sheriff’s office purchased an ATV and trailer. Cordry is looking at locations to store the ATV when it is not in use. Cordry said he would be advertising to hire a Jailor and a Deputy.
David Willbrant, Public Works Administrator, presented the weekly work report. Willbrant said KDHE was on site last week to test the underground tanks that were removed over 20 years ago. Bids for Grader Blades will be opened July 7th at 11:00 A.M. and bids for Signs will be opened July 14th at 11:00 A.M.
Elizabeth Hiltgen, County Attorney, submitted a bid sheet to the Commissioners for a property located at 104 E. 2nd St., 102 E. 2nd St., and 116 C St. in Washington. Chairman Mueller asked Dimler to gather the information required to complete the bid.
The Board commenced acting as the Public Building Commission at 11:35 A.M. and adjourned at 11:55 A.M.
The Board reconvened as the BOCC at 11:55 A.M.
Gloria Moore, Tourism Director, presented the June 2014 tourism report. Moore said the US 36 Assn. is looking for board members to represent Washington County. She asked the Commissioners for suggestions for board members. Commissioner Otott made some suggestions. Moore asked permission to establish a Facebook page for Washington County Tourism. The Commissioners approved the establishment of the page.
The meeting adjourned at 12:40 P.M.