Highlights from the July 21 Saline County Commission Meeting

SALINA – The Saline County Board of County Commissioners met on Tuesday, July 21. Here are the highlights from the meeting:

  • Commissioners approved for the Chairman to sign the certification of local government approval for Central Kansas Mental Health to apply for and accept an Emergency Solutions Grant. This grant opportunity was made possible for community mental health centers to apply for under the CARES Act to be used for homeless assistance. Central Kansas Mental Health is applying for $53,000 in hopes to provide rapid housing for homeless as well as the ability to purchase some personal protective equipment for their employees that do homeless outreach. There is no financial impact on the County as this grant will be managed by Central Kansas Mental Health Center, the grant required for them to obtain local government approval before submission.
  • Michelle Barkley, Emergency Management Director, presented a resolution to extend the local disaster declaration regarding the public health emergency for another 60 days. This declaration allowed for the county to continue to submit requests for protective gear and testing supplies to the State, the ability to apply for public assistance funds, and has tort claim liability protection. Commissioners voted to sign the resolution to continue the local declaration.
  • Justin Mader, County Engineer, provided his department update and discussed several accomplishments, plans for projects, and projected things for the future.
    • Two bridge construction projects have been completed. The paving of W. Water Well Road, west of Burma, is nearly complete. Also completed was the 2-inch overlay on Old Highway 40 from Niles to Solomon Roaad and a survey of City/County grounds.
    • Several projects are planned for 2020 including a span bridge, five reinforced concrete box projects, installation of pipes on Salemsborg Road, west of Holmes, pavement crack seal in several locations, bituminous patching and overlays, chip seal, aggregate shouldering, and complete of upgrades to the bulk fuel containment out at the Road and Bridge yard.
    • Projects that continue to be worked on but probably won’t see much movement until 2021 include road improvements to Simpson Road from Magnolia to Crawford utilizing high-risk rural route funds and FEMA Mitigation projects for five locations that are notorious for flooding issues.
    • Attached to the press release is a map that outlines the 2020 Road and Bridge Department projects and locations.
  • Phillip Smith-Hanes, County Administrator, provided the Commission with a review of the 2020 budget performance for the first half of 2020. Revenues and expenditures from January 1 to June 30, 2020 were compared against the same time for the prior year (2019). Overall, revenues in the General Fund are up by about $750,000 from the same time last year. Expenditures are down $206,000 compared to last year. The Road and Bridge fund expenditures are significantly outpacing last year with their expenditures being up by $936,000 but that is related to the increased ability this year of getting projects out the door and completed. Phil expressed to Commissioners that after review, he sees no reason for concern with any of the 2020 budgeted funds for the first half of the year but does continue to advise departments to watch spending closely due to the uncertainty in the economy.
  • Mr. Smith-Hanes provided his update to Commissioners reporting on the Coronavirus Funding Advisory Committee’s second meeting that was held yesterday, July 20. The committee will meet again tomorrow, July 22, to review the application that will be used as part of the direct aid plan for entities to use to apply for funds. The Cities and School Districts were given a deadline of Friday, July 24 to submit all of their costs they are requesting for reimbursement. The County website has a dedicated page regarding these funds where citizens can see all of the information, submit ideas, and a direct link to the County’s YouTube channel to see past meetings, which can be found by clicking here. Last note on the Coronavirus Relief Funds, the Treasurer confirmed that $11,026,434 was deposited into the County’s account yesterday.
  • Lastly, Mr. Smith-Hanes informed Commissioners that after the Commission approved for staff to continue with the publishing of the 2021 budget, some adjustments were made after receiving the necessary information on Rural Fire District #4 and suggestions from the auditor that brings the budget down about $20,000 from what the Commissioners saw last week. Publication of the budget will occur and Commissioners will take public comment and consider adoption of the budget on August 11. Information on the 2021 budget can be found on the County website by clicking here.

Announcements:

  • Advanced voting for the August Primary Election is occurring now in the County Clerk’s office, 300 W. Ash, Room 215. Citizens are still able to request a mail ballot for the August Primary as well as for the November General Election by contacting the County Clerk’s office at 785-309-5820.
  • A Ballot Drop Box was recently installed in the south circle drive of the City-County Building, 300 W. Ash. Citizens can utilize the drop box as a safe, secure, and easy way to return your ballot.

The agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting, July 28, will be released later this week and available on the County website by clicking here. All County Commission meetings begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays.

As the transition is made back to regular operations, and County officials continue to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please be advised that there is limited public seating for County Commission meetings, and citizens are required to follow the City of Salina’s mask ordinance. County Commission meetings can be viewed on Access TV, either via Cox Cable Channel 20 or online at www.salinatv.org.

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