Charlene Sims, Journal staff
Commission rejects requests from La Cygne, mental health
MOUND CITY – After looking at the balance on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds presented by Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower on Monday, Jan. 2, the commissioners voted to not fund present applications.
Hightower explained that the county’s ARPA fund had about $817,400 unallocated. She told the commissioners that there were still two outstanding applications for the funds. One was from Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center (SEKMHC) for $217,500 and the other was from the city of La Cygne for $65,000.
SEKMHC wanted funding for services provided in Linn County. That included new software for health records, a new medical provider for after hour crisis/substance abuse counselor and work they did on its Pleasanton facility to bring it into Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliance for $15,000.
Commission Chair Danny McCullough asked if the county hadn’t already approved a $117,000 budget for 2023.
Hightower told the commissioners that if they awarded the SEKMHC application the ARPA account would have nearly $599,900 left.
Hightower said that La Cygne’s application was for $65,000 to put toward their water treatment plant update. La Cygne is putting up $65,000 as a match.
Discussion was held on La Cygne using the ARPA funds they had applied for toward a new city fire station.
Hightower said if the county were to award just the La Cygne application, the balance of the ARPA fund would be about $752,400. If the county funded both the balance would be almost $534,900.
Commissioner Jason Hightower explained that the La Cygne water plant was one of the Linn County’s two main water resources. He said that as the county is looking at appraisal values if it doesn’t have Public Wholesale Water District (PWWD) # 13 and La Cygne providing water the will be seeing limitations on water meters being sold and houses going up.
Commissioner Hightower said that he had just taken a tour at the water plant, and the city just finished two settling ponds, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. They provide some water to Linn County Rural Water District (RWD) No. 3, Linn Valley and RWD No. 1. This request is for a carbon feeder that is needed in the water treatment process.
Johnson said that when the city manager came and asked for the money she said it wasn’t going to be a show stopper if they did not get this. He said that the way he feels is they have a fire station there and they are building another one there in the same community. He said he was not for either one of the applications.
McCullough said the county had a lot of in house concerns that the county needed to take care of first and foremost. He said he agreed with Johnson on it.
Commissioner Hightower made a motion to deny the application for SEKMHC. All voted to deny it.
Johnson made a motion to deny the application for the city of La Cygne. Johnson and McCullough voted to deny it with Commissioner Hightower voting against the measure.
In other business, the commissioners:
• Learned that Public Works Director Shaun West and Planning and Zoning Administrator Darin Wilson attended a flood plain meeting.
• Discussed White Road at the State Line and Zenor Road Bridge in the Federal Wildlife area. The bridge will be taken off the county’s repair list.
• Agreed to have a mower repaired for $1,200 that will be used at the park.
• Approved a resolution to change the sanitation code to incorporate poly tanks to be used for septic tanks and also to reduce the required acreage for a lateral field from three acres to two acres.
• Authorized County Counselor Gary Thompson to send a letter to Tyson Jinks altering the order concerning his eviction from the Linn County Park.
• Approved Joab Ory for a Commissioner District #1 position on the Planning and Zoning board.
• Learned that the planning board had voted for Richard Morrell to continue as chair and Paul Porter as vice-chair.
• Approved moving William Ernest to truck driver position in the south shop at the rate of $17.85 per hour.
• Approved moving Kacey Jensen to a mechanic’s position at the south shop at the rate of $17.95 per hour.
• Approved purchasing a new copier for the courthouse offices at the cost of $4,479.
• Learned that the county laptops for the commissioners and planning board had been received.