Sep 16, 2020 12:04 AM

County OKs emergency declaration, works on emergency radio project

Posted Sep 16, 2020 12:04 AM

Saline County Commissioners Tuesday approved an emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During their regular meeting this morning, commissioners approved a request from Michelle Barkley, emergency management director, for a Declaration of a State of Local Public Health Emergency for Saline County for 60 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency declaration allows Saline County to submit resource requests to the State of Kansas, continue emergency sheltering, and track expenditures for reimbursement, according to information from the county.

Commissioners also approved two emergency shelter agreements with Webster Conference Center and First Covenant Church. According to the county, the two locations were evaluated and determined to be adequate and to offer unique opportunities to shelter individuals temporarily when their homes have been destroyed by a natural disaster or other emergency.

Additionally, commissioners reviewed the proposed cost break down between the county and the City of Salina and reviewed several financing options for the emergency communications system project. They also reviewed the continuing contract negotiations with Motorola.

Staff worked with the city to break out costs associated with the backbone infrastructure, subscriber radios, 911 dispatch center, other services, and maintenance. In the end, commissioners were presented with the cost breakdown of $10,962,757.10 for the county’s portion of the contract and $3,818,150.33 for the city's portion, according to information from the county.

The city’s share is for items directly related to the 911 dispatch center, subscriber radios for their departments, and its portion of maintenance and services associated directly with the dispatch center. The county’s cost-share includes all of the backbone infrastructure, tower costs, county department subscriber radios, maintenance associated with the backbone infrastructure, and other services.

The county has allocated funds in the Capital Improvement Plan of $600,000 that staff asked the commissioners to expend as part of what would be due at contract signing. Commissioners did vote to affirm the county’s share of the costs associated with the radio project and authorized the expenditure of funds, according to information from the county. Commissioners voted to direct staff to pursue the establishment of a Public Building Commission to finance the remainder of the county’s share of the radio project. This particular option offers the lowest potential interest rate while preserving cash in the county's Capital Improvement Fund.

The contract with Motorola would be for 15 years. Contract negotiations continue and staff plans to present a final contract with Motorola to the county commission for consideration on Sept. 22, the county information noted.

In other business:

●Commissioners nominated County Clerk, Jamie Doss, for the At Large Trustee position on the Kansas Workers’ Compensation Solution for Kansas Counties Board.

●Commissioners signed an agreement with Aflac to continue to offer group policies for supplemental insurance.

●Commissioners signed an agreement with KSGovJobs.com to post job vacancies on their public sector job posting site to increase exposure to the employment vacancies that the County has. The annual subscription is $600.

●Commissioners approved a long list of items as no value to be sold in an upcoming Purple Wave auction. Any proceeds from the sale of these items will be deposited into the General Fund.

●Marilyn Leamer, human resources director, provided a department update. Leamer reported that 13 new hires were made from mid-July to mid-September, six employees were transferred or promoted, and eight persons are no longer employed with by the county. The department continues to focus on filling vacancies, planning for county in-service training, and completing open enrollment for benefits.

●County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes discussed Coronavirus Relief Funds and the various meetings that staff plan to attend to discuss the jail project with the public.