County to receive SPARK grant money
– The Commissioners participated in a conference call with Emergency Planning Director, David Dohe, during Monday's Mitchell County Commissioners meeting. The Federal legislature passed a new pandemic relief measure to assist local entities with distributing money to those in economic distress caused by the pandemic. The need is driven by needs related to COVID-19. This measure is called the SPARK grant. The State of Kansas received approximately two billion dollars. It will be distributed to the counties based on the population of the county which is in the neighborhood of $200 per person. Using this formula, Mitchell County will receive $1,187,000. A formula is being developed to design how the money will be distributed in Mitchell County.
– Larry Sharp, KCAMP representative for county liability insurance, stopped by to update the commissioners on the status of liability insurance. He pointed out that casualty losses cover “acts of God” situations over which the county, or anybody else, has any control. Tornadoes, floods, high winds, and other situations happen when will and cannot be foreseen or avoided. On the other hand, liability insurance, covers everything else. The KCAMP organization covers 75 counties in Kansas. In the area of liability insurance, law enforcement makes up 45 percent of the premium cost. Sharp said law enforcement costs are seeing a steep increase at this time.
Sharp said the commissioners should anticipate a 5 to 7 percent raise in the upcoming premium year.
– Register of Deeds Tami Eck, spoke to the commissioners regarding the microfilming of records in her office. The last time microfilming was done was in 2011. She told the commissioners she has ample funds in her budget to pay for the work. A copy of the microfilm is stored in a vault at the Hutchinson salt mine.
– Neighborhood Revitalization grants were reviewed and an application from Mike Lake for a $51,200 building was approved. An application for an $81,454 building for Leo and Leona Eilert was approved.
An application for a building addition submitted by Todd Bonfane was denied. Using photos taken by Melissa Bean as part of the appraisal process it was discovered that significant concrete work had been completed on the project before the application has been submitted to the commissioners. The regulations of the project dictate that no work shall be completed on the project until the application has been received and approved.
– Cortney Murrow, Mitchell County Health Administrator, was present to talk to the commissioners about continuing plans to reopen various facilities in the county. One such institution was Hilltop Lodge. They are in the process of creating a document that delineates actions to be taken and when they will take place. Once they compose such a document Murrow will assist them in formulating a final plan to begin reopening.
Murrow said the Health Department continues to get calls about a variety of COVID-19 related concerns. She said the health department has some control of actions mandated by the State or Federal programs. In most cases, however, they are simply instituting action directed by a high level of authority.
Jeremy McGuire with Blue Cross, stopped by to discuss health insurance. The county health insurance will soon be up for renewal. He said, “Mitchell County has a great plan.” A discussion of issues affecting health care in the market today followed. McGuire said there was a name brand pharmaceutical often advertised on TV that costs $4950 per dose. Everyone wondered if it really cost that much money to produce one dose of the medicine.
Commissioners Jim Marshall and Mike Cooper and the County Clerk were present at Monday's meeting. Commissioner Tom Claussen was absent.