The Board of Marshall County Commissioners met in regular session with Keith Bramhall, chairman, Barbara Kickhaefer, member, Fritz Blaske, member and Sandra Wilson, County Clerk present for the meeting. Paul Kessinger with the Advocate joined the meeting at 9:25 a.m.
Commissioner Bramhall called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. The meeting was opened with the flag salute.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to approve the minutes of the 04/12/21 meeting and the agenda for today’s meeting as presented. Unanimous.
Fritz Blaske moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve the following purchase order. Unanimous.
Phoenix Casting & Machinery, Juniata, NE
For grave markers
$1,554.27-General (Commissioner) Fund-P.O. #6431
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to sign a proclamation making May 2021 Mental Health Month. Unanimous.
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig met with the Board.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to authorize Jayhawk Fire & Sprinkler to proceed with fixing the sprinkler system to bring up to code. Unanimous.
Fritz Blaske moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to approve the following purchase orders. Unanimous.
Hall Brothers, Inc., Marysville, KS
For 1 ½” hotmix overlay – Axtell Blacktop (Indian Rd)
$385,997.60-Special Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109180
Husker Steel, Columbus, NE
For Bridge steel for B#11.25-B.6 N. of Oketo
$148,350.00-Special Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109178
Koch Excavating, Axtell, KS
For 14 ¼ hours machine hire
$2,422.50-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109177
WH Scale Co., Inc., Topeka, KS
For remove old scale, install new scale
$57,195.00-Solid Waste Fund-P.O. #109179
Jayhawk Fire & Sprinkler Co., Inc., Topeka, KS
For service call & material to repl 4” elbow w/drain
$2,325.00-General (Courthouse) Fund-P.O. #109182
Welborn Sales, Salina, KS
For 50 7’ grader blades, 50 8’ grader blades
$12,064.00-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109181
Welborn Sales, Salina, KS
For 110 pc corrugated metal pipe & 32 bands
$143,575.28-Road & Bridge Fund-P.O. #109183
Jayhawk Fire & Sprinkler Co., Inc., Topeka, KS
For annual fire sprinkler inspection & maintenance
$2,211.00-General (Courthouse) Fund-P.O. #109176
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig met with the Board. The bulldozer from the landfill is in Manhattan at CAT for repairs. The fuel injector pump would not work and the housing is cracked. The estimated cost to repair is $10K+. The Board directed Mike to clarify with CAT that this would in deed fix the dozer before proceeding.
Commissioner Kickhaefer inquired as to why the blacktop on Pheasant Road only goes to Carden Rd (13th Rd) instead of to the landfill or all the way to Winifred. Public Works Administrator Mike Craig said that he thinks originally it was intended to go all the way to the landfill but was just never done. The Board instructed Mike to look into an estimate for black topping the additional 4 ½ miles to Winifred.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to approve vouchers as presented and issue manual warrants. Unanimous.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve the following Home Sewer bill to be paid out of the appropriate account. Unanimous.
US Treasury, 1st Quarter 941 taxes $172.12
County Counselor Jason Brinegar met with the Board. There were several patrons present for the Board discussion regarding the 30 x 30 land grab executive order and the Kansas Nebraska Heritage Area Partnership. Those present to observe the meeting were Rick Strathman, George Bernasek, Edgar Pralle, Steve Boyda, Clarence Nordhus, Bob Buessing, Richard Buessing and Bruce Buessing. Commissioners Bramhall and Blaske attended a meeting in Clay Center recently discussing the Kansas Nebraska Heritage Area Partnership. Mr. Norman Kincaide was the speaker at the meeting and he stated that letters and a Resolution could be signed to basically “opt” Marshall County out. Commissioner Bramhall feels that there is just not enough information to opt out at this point and there is a lot of mixed information being provided. The Kansas Nebraska Heritage Area Partnership proposes the use of 49 counties, 23 Nebraska counties and 26 Kansas counties and claim as a non-profit they would have ZERO ability to impact property rights, zoning or land use regulations. The purpose of the program is to help a region tell stories of national historic significance which in this region includes the settlement of the West, the Homestead Act, and the development of agriculture in the Midwest. The partnership must first raise $100,000 for a feasibility study which would include meetings to gauge the public’s interest in the proposal. The partnership is using tourism dollars to entice participation. The 30 x 30 “land grab” and the Kansas Nebraska Heritage Partnership Area are 2 separate issues. President Biden issued an Executive Order #14008 “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” on January 27, 2021 which contained in that order “30 x 30” program, a radical and aggressive push forwarded by environmental and climate change activists to put 30 percent of the land and water in the United States under permanent protection by 2030. Kansas and Nebraska Attorney Generals have voiced opposition. County Counselor Jason Brinegar feels that this issue will come down to Federal pre-emption vs. States Rights. Rick Strathman stated that in conjunction with the executive order within 90 days from President Biden’s executive order there is supposed to be a plan in place as to how to proceed with the 30 x 30 plan. The availability of this plan to the general public is not guaranteed. Executive Order is using the pretense of “climate change” to gain carbon credits and change all land back to grass. Mr. Strathman would like to see the Board of Commissioners sign a Resolution and send letters to the governor and representatives in opposition of this 30 x 30 program. Commissioner Bramhall again feels there is not sufficient information at this time but will continue to research the plan.
Becky Dunlap met with the Board to further discuss the Convention of States to see if they wish to sign a Resolution in favor of the formation of Convention of States. Convention of States is focusing on Article V of the Constitution and the 3 main issues are term limits, fiscal restraints and stopping Federal overreach. There are currently 15 states that have passed the Convention of States and need an additional 34 States to establish the Convention of States.
Agency on Aging Director Ashley Lyhane met with the Board. The dishwasher at the Helvering Center has been leaking and she can no longer get any parts to repair. She presented the Board with a dishwasher lease from Ecolab in the amount of $93.57 for a term of 12 months.
Fritz Blaske moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to approve the dishwasher lease for Agency on Aging with Ecolab in the amount of $93.57 for a term of 12 months. Unanimous.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to recess the meeting at 10:27 a.m. to reconvene in the basement meeting room for the Department Head meeting. Unanimous.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to reconvene the meeting at 10:34 a.m. Unanimous.
The following persons were present for the department head meeting, Tim Ackerman, Bill Schwindamann, Jr., Mike Craig, Jason Brinegar, Jami Ellenbecker, Nancy Koch, Ashley Lyhane, Sue Rhodes, Francine Crome, Meghan Voracek, Susie Latta, Anastasia Meyer.
County Health Nurse Sue Rhodes reported that the Health Dept. has given 3,733 primary doses and 2,969 boosters for COVID-19. She reports they have gotten behind on their regular vaccinations due to the COVID shutdown and the COVID vaccines.
County Appraiser Francine Crome shared that she has 2 new employees and they are doing great. Personal Property notices will go out May 1 and they will start their maintenance review in the near future.
County Attorney Meghan Voracek stated that they are holding all in person hearings except some CINC cases are conducted via Zoom. She is continuing to work on streamlining the processes in her office.
Extension Agent Susie Latta reported that she helped 1,011 residents with Medicare Supplement plans and prepared 188 tax returns.
Extension Agent Anastasia Meyer said plans are moving forward for a normal fair this year. She has begun assisting patrons with planting season questions.
County Clerk Sandy Wilson reported she has a new employee also and is working out great. Sammi and Sandy recently attended ELVIS (election) training in Omaha. The Clerk’s office is accepting filings for City/School offices at this time. Deadline to file for a City or School position is noon on June 1, 2021.
County Counselor Jason Brinegar has been staying busy with the Irish Creek Windfarm project and now will turn attentions to the Kansas Nebraska Heritage Partnership Area and the 30 x 30 land grab issues to advise the County on the right direction to take on these issues. His office will be moving forward with the tax sale in the near future.
Public Works Administrator Mike Craig reported they are staying busy blading and hauling rock. The work on the bridges throughout the Irish Creek Windfarm project will begin soon. There are 5 bridges and 1 culvert that will need to be either repaired or replaced.
Register of Deeds Martha Roesch reported she also has a new employee. The Register of Deeds office continues to receive documents to file and they are having trouble getting caught up. January’s recording fees were $9,000, February’s recording fees were $11,000 and March’s recording fees were $17,000.
County Treasurer Jami Ellenbecker said they are busy training for a retirement next Spring. She wanted to thank the Board for allowing her to look for a part-time employee to do drivers license. This will allow her current employees to perform their customer service duties. They have started receiving tax payments for the upcoming May 10 second half due date.
Agency on Aging Director Ashley Lyhane reported that transportation is increasing which is normal for this time of year. She also reported that her 2022 KDOT budget has been approved. Mrs. Lyhane reported that recently there was an attempt to vandalize one of her vans. She is looking into security cameras to hopefully deter this from happening again. January – March they had 2,886 meals to go and delivered 5,148 Meals on Wheels.
Clerk of the District Court Nancy Koch informed the Board that jury trials will commence in the near future. The selection of jurors and likely the trial will be held offsite to accommodate for the COVID social distancing protocols. They will be transitioning to a new email portal of kscourts.org.
Emergency Management Director Bill Schwindamann, Jr. reported that they are staying informed on the American Rescue Plan that will likely have another large sum of money coming into Marshall County. He feels this will largely be for infrastructure improvement and will have to be spent by the year 2024.
Sheriff Tim Ackerman said he is going to hold off on hiring another jailer at this time. He has offered an internship to a Cloud County Community College student for the summer to fill this position. He has hired a new night dispatcher.
The next Department Head meeting will be held on July 26th.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to recess the meeting at 11:35 a.m. to reconvene in the Board of County Commissioners meeting room. Unanimous.
Fritz Blaske moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to reconvene the meeting at 11:48 a.m. Unanimous.
County Sanitarian Marlene Stamm met with the Board to present her quarterly report. She stated that typically this is a slower time for her but she is staying consistently busy.
Partnership for Growth Director Ellen Barber met with the Board. She encouraged the Board to not do anything in regards to a resolution for the Kansas Nebraska Heritage Partnership area or the 30 x 30 land grab until more information is provided. Mrs. Barber reported that one application for the Downtown Redevelopment Act has been approved and has forwarded the documents to County Clerk Sandy Wilson. She is still collecting information for the other applicant.
Commissioner Kickhaefer left the meeting at 12:25 p.m.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to approve the Neighborhood Revitalization application for James and Kayla Hagedorn for the construction of a 40’ x 30’ residential shed. Motion passed 2-0.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to approve the Neighborhood Revitalization application for Jacob and Coila Farrell for the construction of a 2 story family home with attached garage. Motion passed 2-0.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Fritz Blaske to adjourn the meeting at 12:38 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Monday, April 26, 2021 beginning at 8:30 a.m.