Commissioners Approve Federal Funds Exchange Program With The State

The Mitchell County Commissioners met on Monday morning, and agreed to a fund exchange program with the State or Kansas. Nearly $85,000 in federal funds received by the county will be exchanged with the State, minus a fee of 10 percent for roughly $76,000 in return. The commissioners touted it as a good move which is undertaken by many counties throughout the state and nationally. The county will lose about $8,000 in the transaction, but this is a preferable option due to there being much lesser restrictions on what can be done with the money locally without federal regulations tied to it. The move should actually be a net gain for the county in the big picture in terms of what they can do with the funds, and how far those dollars will stretch.

Carol Torkelson was on hand regarding the ongoing handicap accessibility grant program between Mitchell and three other area counties. Torkelson said they will begin utilizing a point program and disability forms in the application process to help determine grant recipients. She also announced they have received an extra $25,000 housing preservation grant agreement obligation form. This will help supplement the program if an individual project exceeds the $12,500 cap. Mobile homes or homes in flood plain areas will not be eligible for funds. Torkelson reported inquiries have been received from all four counties participating in the program.

911 Director Becky Schaefer announced she had successfully run for the Kansas Association of Public Saftey Communications Officers board, and was elected secretary/treasurer for a two year term beginning in January 2016. She also reported a $600 low bid from Solomon Valley Home Center to replace office windows at Mitchell County Communications. Schaefer also announced installation of the new 911 system is expected to start in November.

Public Works Director Larry Emerson reported ongoing road and bridge projects as well as progress on mowing throughout the county. Annual mowing at the landfill will begin today. Ditch cleaning is also in the works. Emerson said it’s a good time to do it when it’s dry. Conversely, he said they are trying to wait for a rain before performing some maintenance work on county roads. He said grading and working country roads in such dry conditions is not very productive. He also announced that the problem with the new tractor overheating has been resolved after a change in operating procedure, and has run well ever since.

The commissioners approved a Neighborhood Revitalization grant for temporary tax ababement on a property owned by Donald Boden at 502 N. Mill for a residential addition valued at $106,000.

Heather Hartman was also in attendance and brought attention to the success of the recently completed school marathons at Beloit Elementary and St. John’s Grade School. The 26.2 mile marathon distance was completed by 187 first through sixth grade students between the two schools. This process took place over the past few weeks with a mile per day being logged three days per week. Usually before school, but also during P.E. classes, and on their own outside of school if needed.

The marathon program was an endeavor of the Mitchell County Foundation under the direction of Stephanie Simmons with on-site marathon coordinators Jama Budke and Liz Fixen, at St. John’s and Beloit Elementary respectively, making it happen day-to-day.

Each marathoner who completed the distance received a medal and t-shirt. All 50 students at St. John’s who began the event also completed it. At Beloit Elementary, the completion rate was 137 of 139 who began the process. Hartman also expressed appreciation for a great amount of community involvement that took place from adding new sidewalks at BES for the marathon, to the well attended final assembly held at Trojan Stadium on Friday. The students collectively completed the final two-tenths of a mile at the grand finale and received their wares.

The Mitchell County Commissioners will next meet on Monday, October 26 at 8:30 a.m. in the Mitchell County Courthouse. The session will include a county department head meeting.