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Linn County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, March 20, and began their meeting with the approval of the minutes of the last meeting followed by the approval of claims in the amount of $208,590.69.

The commissioners then approved adds and abates 2021-178 and 2022-878- 881 with a total change of $618.32.

Galen Anderson with AMR reported on transports for the month of February noting they had responded to 78 calls across the county resulting in 45 transports for the month.

Linn County Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Randy Hegwald reported his department had handled nine incidents in the last week, bringing their year-to-date total to 89.

Hegwald provided commissioners with a job description for himself and an assistant fire chief, which would be a salaried position, and requested permission to advertise for the position based on that description. Commissioner Jason Hightower moved to approve the description and authorize advertising and the motion carried.

Sheriff Kevin Friend reported on his numbers for the week, noting he currently has 48 inmates, 33 of which are farm-ins and that 101 calls were made to 911 in the last week. 

Friend also reported that the Kansas State Fire Marshall’s Office had inspected the Justice Center last week and no deficiencies were found. He also noted K-CAMO also inspected the facility last week and they are waiting for the report.

Commissioner Danny McCullough asked about the need for another bailiff and Friend stated he would like to continue assessing that as courts move forward and may have an answer by budget time.

Missy Lancaster reported on numbers for the Linn County Health Department for the last week noting 68 contacts were made for various reasons, ranging from WIC to Covid-case routing.

Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower reported a walk-through of the former  Meemaw’s restaurant is set for Wednesday, March 22, at 4 p.m.

Hightower then requested a five minute executive session for legal matters.

She presented hay bids to commissioners, with County Counselor Gary Thompson noting that the Pleasanton Industrial Park is not up for bid this year and was put out by mistake.

Commissioners reviewed the bids and read them aloud and then asked Hightower to put them together.

Commissioners then entered into a five minute executive session with Hightower for legal matters. No action was taken following the resumption of the regular meeting.

Sherri Loveland presented bids for work at the Linn County Park and Marina and commissioners reviewed them and then asked her to have them qualified. 

Hightower returned with a spreadsheet on the hay bids and commissioners voted to approve the bids as follows:

- A bid for $1,650 for the landfill from Chad Gorman

- A bid for $3,753 for the airport acreage from Umphenour Farms.

Commissioners then approved BP-2023-01 for Peoples Telecommunications under the ARPA funds with fees waived with Commissioner Hightower abstaining from the vote as a member of the Peoples board.

Linn County Planning and Zoning Administrator Darin Wilson noted the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on April 27 for zoning regulations.

Joey McLiney of McLiney and Company spoke to commissioners on federal prisoners and refinancing requirements on the bond. (See related article in this edition)

Linn County Appraiser Kathy Bridges reported on valuation increases (See related article in this edition)

Theresa Miller then spoke to the commissioners regarding upcoming changes at the Linn County Historical Society Museum. Miller noted that current administrator Ola May Earnest is struggling with memory issues and she is working on filling vacancies in the board. 

Miller asked commissioners to sign a letter of support for a $5,000 grant she is working on for improvements to the façade of the building in Pleasanton and new signs to be placed around the city and possibly along the highway.

The commissioners agreed to sign the letter of support. She then noted a retirement celebration for Ola May will be held on April 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hightower introduced Taylor Hoage with the SEKRPC and Jay Allen from the STARS program who came to speak on a grant possibility to expand the STARS program and what they can offer.  The county would be the applicant and act as financial institution; but no matching funds would be required of the county.  Jay Allen spoke to commissioners about the numbers for next year which are estimated to bring 100 new kids, along with some that are returning. 

Commissioners voted to authorize SEKRPC to apply for the grant in the county name and for the county to act as the financial institution for the grant on a 3-0 vote. Commissioners then approved setting a public hearing for the grant at the Commissioners meeting on April 10 at 10:30 a.m.

Discussions turned to the Linn County Health Department and commissioners opted to go into executive session to protect the rights of privacy of personnel for 30 minutes. That session was extended by 20 minutes and then extended by another 20 minutes. When the regular meeting resumed no action was taken.

Commissioners then authorized McCullough to sign the contract for Randy Page at $30 per hour as construction consultant for the county. 

Commissioners approved a policy change to reflect the 12 hour work day schedule for the Sheriff’s employees for holiday pay.

Commissioners voted 2-1 to enact a $1 increase in all hourly wages in the pay matrix. 


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