Joan Strickler, observer
All Commissioners present, Kearns presiding.
Continuing concern was expressed about the RCPD budget for 2011. The County and City are still dealing with union negotiations which delays the finalizing of the overall budgets. A number of scenarios were reviewed and the Commissioners seemed to settle on one in which only step increases would be allowed for RCPD salaries and not COLA increases. An alternative would be to give higher increases and lay off personnel. The step increases were favored primarily because they are merit based and keep salaries in line with similar positions in the private sector.
County Extension agent Greg McClure reported on the situation of crops and harvest potential. Rain has delayed wheat harvest but wheat still looks fairly good. Crops planted generally in June, however, may be delayed because of the wet ground.
County Extension Director Jennifer Wilson announced $250 rebate checks are being sent to Medicare recipients who have reached the “donut hole” level causing increased costs for prescription medications. She stressed the checks will be sent automatically and there is no need to make out an application. She cautioned people to beware of fraud phone calls or people coming to the door asking for personal information related to the rebates.
Doug Messer with the Riley County Fire Department reviewed rules and requirements for the selling and purchasing of fireworks. Bottle rockets are illegal at any time. Fireworks may not be set off until July 1.
Melissa Wangemann, General Counsel for the Kansas Association of Counties, gave an update on possible 2011 legislative issues. She reviewed some bills introduced in the last session that did not pass but she anticipates efforts will be made to bring them to the 2011 legislature. One bill KAC favors pertains to the funding of 911 through some type of fee on phones. She also anticipates discussion will continue on rolling back some tax exemptions and believes budget deficits will continue to be a big problem. It is likely efforts will be made to up the local option tax limitation thus passing on to counties more responsibility for the funding of education.