Mitchell County Commissioners – June 12, 2017

The Mitchell County Commissioners met on Monday morning and received the monthly EMS Report from Director Kelly Hawk. He later expressed concerns about the EMS fleet of ambulances in terms of their mechanical surety. He was joined by Lisa Kiser of DeLisa’s Medical Billing Service of Delphos. He cited a total of 47 runs for the service in the month of May. The service responded to over 72 percent of those calls in five minutes or less.

Thirty-nine of the 47 runs were in the Beloit area. Four runs were in Glen Elder, three were in Cawker City, and they responded to one out of county call in Glasco. Hawk said the busiest time of day, on average for the month, was between the hours of noon and 1 p.m., and Monday was the busiest average day for calls in May.

The service billed a total of $34,891 for the month. After patient and insurance payments and adjustments, the net impact on accounts receivable was $6,450. Thirty-one of the 47 patients were age 60 or older. The next most frequent patient age was 30-39 years old, accounting for about 13 percent of the patient load.

Kiser was on hand to help explain some of the new software reflected on the new billing summaries. She said that DeLisa’s has changed software which allows them to provide more detailed information in the reports.Specific information was not made publicly available due to HIPAA regulations regarding patient confidentiality.

Hawk then discussed an array of mechanical issues they are having with their ambulances. He said there are problems with all four units. They range from conceivably simple fixes to yet un-diagnosed problems. They are currently using a Lincoln County unit on loan. He said they are having varying engine issues with all the units.

Director of Public Works Dale Housh said the county is working on cleaning out culverts and addressing washout areas on gravel roads due to runoff water. He also reported that he spoke with KDOT in-regard to arranging inspections to be performed on the Cawker Causeway bridge and another county bridge. Expected costs are about $12,000 total.

County crews have also been addressing pot holes on county roads. Commissioner Marshall commented on the improvement he has seen in the Tipton area where potholes were fixed. The country crews are addressing several areas throughout the county where heavy rains have created road issues with ruts, potholes and washouts.

The county landfill is accepting tires this week to utilize the remaining $4,000 the community clean-up funds. Those who want to take tires to the landfill at no charge need to call ahead at 738-3880. People will be expected to unload the tires they bring to dispose of.

The commissioners later hosted a four-county meeting along with the commissioners and clerks of Jewell, Osborne and Smith Counties over lunch at Plum Creek Restaurant in Beloit. Discussions revolved around budget work currently underway for the counties. Mitchell County’s valuation is up about five million to approximately $83 million.

Mitchell County representatives said they don’t plan to extend any wage increases until after auditors complete their budget review work. If there are available funds, increases may be considered in the one to one-and-a-half percent range. Across the board pay increases were approved two years ago in the fiscal year 2016 budget.

Discussions were also held comparing county meal allowance monies during travel on county business.
Extended discussion was also held about the tax lid and ways that certain exemptions, such as those for law enforcement, could be used to help offset shortfalls in other areas due to the tax lid. The tax lid law states that the counties may not increase their property tax rates by an amount higher than the annual percentage increase of the consumer price index.

The group also discussed a discrepancy between real estate property taxes, such as those for homes, versus farm ground despite recent significant increases in some counties. One of the commissions from Jewell County said that he is a farmer, but that he feels they are not pulling their share in comparison to personal property taxes.

Whereas property taxes on a home, for example, are taxed at a much high percentage rate than
farmland. Farm ground is taxed at a set rate of dollars per acre depending on the usage of the ground whether it be for grass, crops or other.

The next regular meeting of the Mitchell County Commissioners is scheduled for Monday, June 19 at 8:30 a.m. in the Mitchell County Courthouse.