Commissioners give a lift to seniors’ car rides to doctor
Leavenworth County commissioners are responding to a growing need for services for a growing population of senior citizens in southern Leavenworth County.
At their meeting Monday, commissioners approved a request by Linda Lobb, director of the Council on Aging, to hire a relief driver to help meet the needs of seniors living in Tonganoxie, Linwood and Basehor for transportation to doctor's appointments in Leavenworth, Lawrence and the metropolitan Kansas City area.
"We're seeing an increased number of requests for transportation," Lobb told commissioners.
She cited new senior housing developments in Tonganoxie and the prospect of new senior housing in Basehor to illustrate the growth.
Currently, the Council on Aging offers pay-by-fee transportation service for the county's seniors. The council has two full-time drivers working the southern part of the county and will add an on-call driver after Lobb's proposal gained the unanimous approval of commissioners.
Commissioners asked Lobb whether the added driver would require purchase of a new vehicle or reassignment of a vehicle from the council's fleet in Leavenworth. Lobb said the council already had three cars stationed in Tonganoxie -- two for use by the full-time drivers and one used as a spare when one of the other cars was in the shop.
"It will pose a problem if there are mechanical problems with the other cars," she said.
The cost of the transportation service to seniors is much less than a cab ride. For example, a one-way ride with the council from Tonganoxie to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., costs $10 for a senior. Most of the costs of the service are reimbursed by the state, Lobb said.
"Frankly our fee right now is probably a great bargain," she told commissioners.
In other action Monday, the commission:
- Unanimously approved expenditures for out-of-town travel for Kendra Knight, social worker, to attend HIV education conferences and courses in Topeka, Kansas City and Albuquerque, N.M.
- Unanimously approved a request by County Clerk Linda Scheer to hire county workers to serve as poll workers in the upcoming Feb. 27 primary and April 3 general election. Scheer said she had experienced problems coming up with poll workers willing to serve as supervising judges since the county switched to electronic voting in 2006.
- Unanimously approved a request by Planning Director Chris Dunn to rename a recently platted subdivision to "Grammy Subdivision." Dunn said a check of county records showed the original plat name selected for the subdivision already had been used. The plat has yet to be recorded, Dunn said.
- Unanimously approved adjusting annual longevity bonuses paid to employees to reflect overtime worked by the employee. The adjustments are effective Monday for overtime worked in the calendar year prior to the longevity bonus being paid, Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson said.
- Unanimously approved a payment to the city of Basehor of unencumbered funds left in the Sewer District No. 7 budget. The payment will be made after county Road and Bridge crew manpower and equipment costs related to decommissioning the district are subtracted. The amount paid to Basehor will be about $11,700, commissioners said.
- Approved a recommendation by County Counselor David Van Parys to enter into agreements with four lawyers to serve on the court-appointed panel for indigent defense. Van Parys also will reopen his search for a fifth member on the panel, which renders legal services to criminal defendants in Leavenworth County District Court who cannot pay for their own defense.
- Met for five minutes in executive session to discuss a nonelected personnel matter with Ed Sass, director of solid waste and noxious weeds.
- Heard a quarterly report from Sass and gave its approval to declare a wrecked 1-ton truck as surplus and seek quotes and purchase a new truck bed not to exceed $2,500.
- Heard an annual Health Department report. Included in the report was a reminder that flu shots are still available. Also, the department has a revenue shortfall of about $20,000. About $2,300 of that is from a bioterrorism grant that has not yet been delivered. The remainder is from a Kansas Department of Health and Environment grant that was withheld.
Commissioner Graeber asked Sylvia Burns, the department's director, how anti-terrorism training plans were coming along. Burns said, "We're pushing to get an exercise." Burns said the department would have a planning meeting on Feb. 6, conduct a training drill in March and have a full exercise in April.
- Unanimously approved an application submitted by Samuel and Kelley Chance for a Special Use Permit for a small limited business to build a barn or shed to serve as a photography studio on property at 21520 211th St. in the Stranger Township Community.
- Unanimously approved an application submitted by William and Stacy Driscoll to rezone a 12.4-acre tract of land immediately east of High Prairie Road and 179th Street in Leavenworth County from a five-acre zone to a 2 1/2-acre zone so that a portion of the land can be sold and built on.