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County discusses Meals on Wheels compensation | News | #insurance | #seniors | #elderly

The Brown County Commission met Monday morning and among discussion items was concern over costs of Meals on Wheels.

Karen Wilson, director of NEKAAA, spoke to the commissioners about the program that the county helps subsidize. It was previously facilitated by the Hiawatha Community Hospital, but thanks to a grant that helped provide shelf stable meals to county residents last summer NEKAAA expressed an interest in taking over the program to provide meals to senior citizens in the county as HCH wanted to discontinue.

In addition, Wilson said grant funds are helping build a facility with a kitchen for the program.

Services for Elderly Director Wanda Davis said she was surprised the costs went up more than what was previously discussed. Wilson said they are now providing seven meals a week – rather than five – and more participants have also signed up.

The county subsidizes $1.80 per meal for the participants. The commission decided to table the matter until they could review the budget further.

In other matters, Brown County resident Jerry Aller appeared before the commission expressing concern over Wind Farms. He felt that if the county hired an attorney to negotiate with wind farms that the person would just lobby to bring wind farms to the county and he didn’t want that. He asked why the county would not hire Josh Ney, who appeared before the commission last week. Ney is not a specialized negotiator with wind farms and the commissioners felt that the Brown County Attorney provides all other legal services for the county just fine.

Commissioner Richard Lehmkuhl reminded again that no negotiations are underway with any wind farms, however the county is reviewing potential candidates to fill the position of a legal negotiator if the situation arises. Due to Nemaha County moving forward on allowing wind farms, this could mean transmission lines would need to cross through Brown County. In order to protect the county’s interests, a specialized negotiator would be needed.

Commissioner Lehmkuhl also said the county could not issue any bans on wind farms for legal reasons and reminded Aller that if a landowner chooses to have wind energy on their property that was a personal decision.

* Sarah Kleopfer, Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau, requested use of electricity at the corner of Oregon and South 7th Street for the Big Kansas Road Trip on May 7-8 for the purpose of a food truck.

* The commission would like to table the discussion until Monday, April 5, 2021.

* Cory Costa, Liberty National Director, discussed services Liberty National has to offer the county.

* Road and Bridge Secretary, Tami Lehmkuhl, presented the commission with three bids for a 60’ tube needed for replacement at 260th Road 73 Highway. The bids were as follows: Metal Culverts with a bid of $10,005; J&J Drainage Products with a bid of $9,760; and Welborn Sales with a bid of $9,288. The commission voted to accept Welborn Sales bid of $9, 288.

* Brown County Treasurer, Cheryl Lippold, presented the commission with the bid for replacement of the desks in the Treasurer’s office. The lone bid of $35, 654 was from Navrat’s. Lippold indicated she contacted two companies from Kansas City and one company from Lincoln, Neb., with no response. The commission voted to accept the bid of $35, 654 from Navrat’s.

* Brown County Clerk, Dawn Boyles, discussed the disposal of the current desk systems. Boyles will ask other county offices if

they have a need for them.

* Brown County Clerk, Dawn Boyles, presented the three tree removal bids for courthouse square. The bids were as follows: Kyle’s Tree Service with a bid of $8,250; Gudenkauf Tree Service with a bid of $4,350; and Gamble’s Gardens with a bid of

$8,100. The commission voted to accept the bid from Gudenkauf Tree Service with a bid of $4,350.

* Brown County Clerk, Dawn Boyles, presented the commission with the final bill from Energy Solutions Professionals. Commissioner Lehmkuhl has spoken with Sheriff Merchant and they are still working at the sheriff’s department.Commissioner Lehmkuhl would like to wait until the work is complete to approve final payment.

* William Pollock discussed paying back Rodney Allen and Doug Bletscher for pay on vacant positions they were filling, but had not been promoted to that position. Commissioner Lehmkuhl requested an executive session, stating this needed to be discussed behind closed doors as it concerned personnel. The commission went into a 10-minute Executive Session. Following Executive Session, Commissioner Pollock made a motion to reimburse Rodney Allen and Doug Bletscher for pay on vacant positions they were filling, but had not been promoted to that position. Motion died due to lack of second.

* Commissioner Pollock expressed concern over the courthouse security at the main entrance, stating he didn’t think the county needed it and that some county residents didn’t like it. Commissioner Lehmkuhl reminded that legislators voted in a bill that allowed them to have security and that one of the reasons it was implemented in was for District Court security. Commissioner Pollock would like to speak with Sheriff Merchant and the Judge Patton and the courts about courthouse security.

* Commissioner Shoemaker discussed a citizen concern the low maintenance road on Plum Tree Road.

* The March 31 2021, month-end claims were approved as follows: General $85,294.11; Road & Bridge 156,252.25; Historical Society 4,375.00; Employee Benefit 72,121.57; Election 4,033.56; Extension 8,500.00; Mental Health 5,850.00; Developmental Services 2,254.33; Capital Improvement 6,909.76; Conservation 6,875.00; Appraiser 5,154.40; Ambulance 21,250.00; Noxious Weed 1,081.60; Alcohol 4,911.38; Diversion 545.00; 911 SB50 -5,869.21; ACC 2,567.30; JJCR 3,218.78; Reinvestment Grant 88.13; Services for Elderly 3,908.76; Solid Waste 50,159.53; Payroll 172.90; TOTAL $439,654.15.

* The March 24, 2021, payroll was approved as follows: General $77,928.14; Road & Bridge 14,392.44; Technology 265.00; Appraiser 4,821.55; Noxious Weed 2,260.53; ACC 9,120.49; JJA Core 6,170.45; Reinvestment Grant 3,099.52; Services for Elderly 2,618.00; Solid Waste 6,302.73; Employee Ben FICA 7,943.87; Employee Ben KPERS 9,971.87; State Unemploy/Work Comp -43.22; Insurance -9,469.34; TOTAL $135,382.03.

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