Governing Body: Brown County Commission

Monday, Jan. 28

The Board of Brown County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, Jan. 28, with the following members present: Chairman Keith Olsen, Dwight A. Kruse and Richard L. Lehmkuhl. Also present were County Clerk Melissa Gormley and Deputy County Clerk Dawn Boyles. County Attorney Kevin Hill was present for a portion of the meeting.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all. Pastor Shane Spangler of the Bethany Church led the meeting with a prayer.

Department Reports

Brown County Sheriff John Merchant, reported that there are 13 male inmates in the county jail.

Merchant also presented Commissioner Lehmkuhl with a plaque honoring his years of service on the Brown County Rescue Squad and as Sheriff Chaplain.

Wind Farm

Nat Drucker, Invenergy product developer on the Pony Express Wind Energy Project, discussed Invenergy projects in Brown and Nemaha counties. Drucker stated Invenergy is currently in the project development phase, and this phase could take two to five or more years to complete. Invenergy is currently working on leases with private landowners.

Drucker also reported that they have done earthwork in Morrill Township. They have a laid a thin layer of concrete and covered it with dirt. This concrete slab is a base for a potential wind turbine.

This year, Invenergy is working on leases, surveys, and working with the county on rules and regulations for the project. Drucker stated Invenergy is currently working on setting up an e-mail and a website for the public.

County Attorney Hill asked about a timeline that negotiations would start with the county. Drucker indicated they are open to negotiations anytime, maybe not until late summer or fall of 2019.

Hill asked about Invenergy being open to a public forum. Drucker stated that they would be happy to do so.

Tanner Yost and John Riggins, project engineers for Kirkham Michael, discussed the services offered through Kirkham Michael for Wind Energy projects.

Commissioners took a five-minute recess at 9:48 a.m. The meeting opened at 9:58 a.m.

Upon returning to the meeting, Brown County resident Amy Kopp asked when leases would be filed with the Brown County Register of Deeds. Drucker indicated they are currently working on getting the leases filed.

Kopp also asked about a time when a map would be available. Drucker indicated there is not one available at this time, but there will be one in the future.

Commissioners entered into a recess until 10:25 a.m.

Upon returning to the meeting, Kenny Blair of Cook, Flat and Strobel Engineers, and Bruce Rinkes, the client liaison for Cook, Flat and Strobel, discussed the services offered through Cook, Flat and Strobel for Wind Energy projects.

Commissioners took a recess until 10:55 a.m.

Upon returning to the meeting, Moni G. El-Aasar, vice president of BG Consultants, discussed the Wind Energy project in Coffey County and the usage of their county road system in regards to the project. El-Aasar also discussed the services offered through BG Consultants for Wind Energy projects.

El-Aasar presented an on-call agreement for the commissioners’ approval. County Attorney Hill would like to review the agreement before it is signed by the commissioners. El-Aasar also presented the field check plans along with the construction estimate and Hydraulic Assessment Checklist for OS-226.

Commissioners called a recess until noon. At noon, commissioners entered into a joint meeting with the City of Hiawatha.

Joint Meeting

Commissioner Olsen opened the joint meeting with the City of Hiawatha commencing at noon to discuss Hiawatha Hospital.

Hiawatha Hospital CEO Jeff Shelton presented the critical financial situation of HCH.

Kevin Cowen, attorney for Gilmore and Bell, joined the meeting via phone call. Cowen discussed the various options available to Brown County and the City of Hiawatha to address the financial situation of HCH.

Hiawatha City Administrator Mike Nichols recommended the two entities set up a committee consisting of County Attorney Hill, Nichols and possibly one commissioner from the county and one from the City of Hiawatha. Hill suggested reaching out to the City of Horton, as well. County Commissioner Kruse was appointed to the committee.

Also at the meeting:

Commissioners accepted the Jan. 28 agenda as presented. The Jan. 22 minutes were approved. Tax Change Orders 2018-55, 2018-57 and 2018-59 were signed and approved.

Gormley presented a ROZ letter for the commissioners’ review.

Gormley also presented to the commissioners an estimate for $1,530.20 from B & W Fire for the 2020 contract. Commissioners approved the payment amount.

Commissioners signed paperwork from Morrill and Janes Bank to add signors to the bank account.

Commissioners appointed Lehmkuhl and John DeFore to the KANZA Mental Health Board.

Commissioners approved the bill for Bridge OS-226.

Thursday, Jan. 31

The Brown County Commissioners met Thursday, Jan. 31. to approve month-end bills. Present were Chairman Keith Olsen and Commissioners Dwight A. Kruse and Richard L. Lehmkuhl. Also present was County Clerk Melissa Gormley. Deputy County Clerk Dawn Boyles was present for a portion of the meeting. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all. Lehmkuhl led the meeting with a prayer.

The commissioners discussed a request from the Hiawatha City Commission concerning formation of a Cemetery District. The discussion was tabled until Monday, Feb. 3.

Mikaela Moore, director of Hiawatha Foundation for Economic Development (HFED), presented the Microloan report to the commission. Moore also discussed the ROZ program. She stated five applicants have been approved. Moore updated the commission on other projects that HFED is working on. Commissioners signed the Program Income Report for Economic Development.

Brown County Resident Jim Mueller spoke with commissioners about his road drifting. The road in question is 320th and Mallard. Mueller asked if the county would work with him on putting in a snow fence. Commissioner Lehmkuhl will speak with Road Foreman Herb Roland.

Wind Farm

The commissioners discussed the interviews with the engineers from the previous meeting. Commissioner Kruse suggested speaking with the road foremen before making a decision.

Minutes Corrections

Commissioners approved the following corrections to the Jan. 14 meeting minutes: “County Attorney Kevin Hill was present for a portion of the meeting. Reverend Jim Ferris led the meeting in prayer. Commissioner Olsen commented on the wind farm. He told all those present to send letters to the commissioners before the meeting on Jan. 28, 2019.”

Also at the meeting:

The Jan. 30 payroll was approved as follows: General, $95,386.62; Road and Bridge, $17,638.06; Election, $245.77; Technology, $965.82; Appraiser, $5,821.13; Noxious Weed, $1,970.25; Diversion, $42; ACC, $6,686.18; JJA Core, $7,186.31; Reinvestment Grant, $1,766.92; Services for Elderly, $2,011.50; Solid Waste, $4,408.50; Employee Benefit FICA, $9,776.70; and Employee Benefit KPERS, $12,289.28 After State Unemployment/Workers Compensation of $207.12 was taken out, the total paid was $165,987.92.

The Jan. 31 month-end claims were approved as follows: General, $192,988.32; Road and Bridge, $76,694.49; Historical Society, $4,375; Employee Benefit, $115,722.19; Extension, $16,641.70; Mental Health, $11,700; Developmental Services, $2,254.33; Conservation, $6,875; Appraiser, $1,099.28; Ambulance, $18,110.48; Noxious Weed, $192.50; Diversion, $761.55; 911 SB50, $2,258.07; ACC, $2,870.48; JJCR, $4,590.51; Reinvestment Grant, $73; Services for Elderly, $5,747.68; Solid Waste, $35,746.22; and Payroll, $286.04. The total paid was $498,986.84.

Commissioners approved the Jan. 28 minutes.

Commissioners approved making a counter offer of a $55,000 salary and a 60-day start date to Steve Markham. Markham was available by phone to speak with the commissioners. He will make his decision by the next commission meeting.

It was approved to appoint Olsen to the representative on the Heartland Works Board.

Tax Change Orders 2018-35, 2018-61 and 2018-62 were signed and approved.

Gormley presented the tonnage report and the KWORCC Inspection for the commissioners’ review.

The next regular meeting was held Monday, Feb. 4. These minutes were not available at The Herald’s press time.

The Sabetha Herald1856 Posts

The Sabetha Herald has been serving Sabetha since 1876.

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