Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2008

Renovation cuts county parking

January 10, 2008

As a planned expansion of the Leavenworth County Justice Center is set to commence, county commissioners discussed where to store county vehicles that will no longer fit on site.

In their meeting Thursday, Jan. 3, commissioners talked about the possibility of storing some of the county's more than 200 vehicles including a bomb truck and mobile command vehicle belonging to the Sheriff's Office at the county shop, 23690 187th St., to free up space during Justice Center renovations.

"We've got vehicles that need attention," Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson said, broaching the subject, which he said was long overdue for discussion.

Commissioner Dean Oroke said that while the county shop would be a central location in the county for a facility, "I think if (a location) is here (in the city of Leavenworth), we're much better off."

Oroke pointed to a 20- to 30-minute drive time from the county shop to Leavenworth. Already this year, he added, an emergency vehicle was involved in an accident while driving in the county during inclement weather.

In another topic, Sheriff David Zoellner asked the commission for guidance in putting together bid requests for new vehicles for his department.

Zoellner asked if he should even request bids from local vendors, because prices through a contract with the U.S. General Service Administration are, on average, $2,000 less per vehicle.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber complained that local vendors are hamstrung by GSA pricing.

"The sheriff can buy them from GSA cheaper than the dealer can buy the car," he said.

Tellefson recommended requesting bids from local dealers and dealers within 40 miles of Leavenworth County as was done in 2007 and including GSA pricing with those requests.

"I will pay a little bit more and that may sound a little silly but I want businesses that are keeping jobs in the county and paying property taxes to continue to survive," he said, adding, "If dealers can come close to (GSA pricing), we'll entertain it."

In other business Thursday, the board:

¢ Considered reopening a recent United Way campaign that came in well under its goal.

Deputy County Clerk Penny Reindl, who volunteered to head this year's campaign, said she provided information packets and pledge cards to each department head to cover employees in each department but that a more personal approach was needed.

Of the county's more than 400 employees, only 12 participated, Reindl said, compared to around 25 last year.

"I don't want to sound harsh, but I am very disappointed," she said, noting donations were purely on a volunteer basis.

County counselor David Van Parys said the low figure might not be a fair representation, as some employees donate through other civic organizations.

"I'm personally embarrassed that I haven't been more involved because it is a very good thing and something that I've always tried to be involved with," Tellefson said, adding, "Only about 4 percent of the county employees have participated, and I don't think that's what the county employees are all about."

Graeber suggested redistributing pledge cards, saying, "It's too important to the community and some of those entities out there that depend on those funds to survive." He said he would visit with employees on a more personal basis to promote the United Way as a viable tool in the community.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from Anne deShazo, administrative contact with the Juvenile Justice Authority's 1st Judicial District.

As the district prepares a budget for FY09, she said, preliminary figures indicate an allocation of $140,309 for prevention programs, which include among others the New Decisions program in the Lansing School District and an anger management skills class run through the Leavenworth Youth Achievement Center and $469,795 an increase of over $80,000 for graduated sanctions programming.

DeShazo also noted that if a possible $3.5 million increase in funding on a statewide level passes during the current legislative session, the JJA's 1st District in Atchison and Leavenworth counties could see a significant increase in funding as well.

"If we get all of our funding, I feel very confident that our district will have an even greater continuum of services," deShazo said. "What we've been able to do over the years, being so underfunded, has been phenomenal."

The budgetary recommendations will be presented to the 1st District Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board on Feb. 7 and will be presented again to Leavenworth County commissioners on March 3.

¢ Voted, 3-0, not to renew membership in the Kansas Association of Counties in 2008. Annual membership dues were over $11,000.

¢ Met in three executive sessions totaling 26 minutes to discuss personnel matters, pending litigation and homeland security issues.

In business Monday, the board:

¢ Announced that the Kansas Department of Transportation has requested a meeting to discuss concerns about the U.S. Highway 24-40 Corridor Study. That meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28 at the County Courthouse.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from director of juvenile services Bob Doyle, who said "one of the biggest problems" in his department was an inability to perform adequate drug screens for all youths entering the juvenile detention center.

Doyle said he planned on bringing the issue forward at the next JCAB meeting.

Doyle also reported that Atchison School District 409 had been "very cooperative" since taking on a truancy reduction program on Jan. 2.

¢ Met in executive session for three minutes to discuss personnel.

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