Progressing into the new year, the Harvey County Commission continues to hear reports on services rendered in 2017 — with Monday's focus on insurance and risk management assistance provided by the Kansas Counties Association Multiline Pool.
KCAMP Member Services Representative Larry Sharp was on hand to review the insurance services provided to Harvey County (spanning property, liability, crime and surety coverage, with the exception of worker's comp), including those most utilized by the county — which he noted is very similar to the cross-section of top services rendered to all 70 counties that are members of KCAMP.
One of Harvey County's most used services is also one that Sharp noted is one of KCAMP's broadest, with the attorney assist service being open and available to the county administrator, county attorney, sheriff's office, etc. The services allows any of those individuals to contact a KCAMP-employed attorney who specializes in county legal matters.
"There's no issue too small for us to take a call on," Sharp said.
"It is quick, and I think we've always been aligned in our opinions, which is also good," said county counselor Greg Nye.
Another of the top benefits of which Harvey County takes advantage of is the risk avoidance grants offered by KCAMP, which allow for expenditures on anything that can reduce or mitigate insurance claims. Typically, Sharp noted these grants are utilized by the departments with the biggest budgets (i.e. sheriff's office, public works) and can go towards items ranging from anti-slip strips to new staircase railings.
Where the county gets the most bang for its buck, so to speak, may be in usage of the KCAMP Online University, which provides webinars for county employees to utilize for continuing education and other various needs.
"Harvey County has probably got the highest amount of usage in respect to this internet-based training," Sharp said.
Majority of usage overall is by law enforcement, Sharp said, as there is a lot of specific training featured for those departments, while he also noted commissioners can get 15 hours of continuing education through the KCAMP Online University. It is something administration has made a focal point, as County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber said department heads and staff are asked to complete certain training through the online university every couple of months.
Finally, the last two services most used by Harvey County included two of KCAMP's reimbursement programs, both the Law Enforcement Tuition Reimbursement and Road Scholar Reimbursement. It was reported that in 2017 the former was used to help pay for detectives on the Harvey County Drug Task Force to attend training in Iowa. The Road Scholar Reimbursement offers a similar advantage — with funds that can be used to address bridge problems and other issues — with up to $607 in additional funding available each year.
In other business, the county commission:
Noted the Republican Party's nomination of Emily Nichols for County Treasurer, which was officially submitted to the Governor's office last week. County Clerk Rick Piepho said the soonest Nichols could be sworn in would be a week from Monday.
Discussed an invitation to a luncheon with Sen. Carolyn McGinn (on the topic of passenger rail) as part of the commission's schedule on Local Government Day at the State Capitol on Jan. 24.
Heard back from Deb Scheibler of Kansas WorkforceONE on potential meeting dates to discuss collaborative services.
Received a request from Planning and Zoning Director Gina Bell to speak at the upcoming Township meeting about a regulation change that is likely to be approved by the planning and zoning commission.
Learned that that the 911 Coordination Council's push for legislature to increase fees would jump 911 fees up to 90 cents, with 10 cents going towards a reserve fund and it would also increase the percentage collected from pre-paid phones — along with a request for more standardized training requirements for dispatch workers.
Approved a request for bids from the sheriff's office for a new transportation van at the detention center.
Appointed Jim Lasiter to the Parks Advisory Board for a three-year term from Feb. 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2021, waiving second reading.
Was informed of the success of the Harvey County RSVP's Martin Luther King service project, which collected 10 carts full of non-perishable food and hygiene items for Safehope, New Hope and Salvation Army over the weekend.
Heard an update from Sheriff Chad Gay regarding the Drug Task Force investigation and subsequent arrests last Wednesday. Gay noted all eight juveniles arrested were transferred to juvenile detention in Hutchinson and four were retained after court hearings.
Received a question from citizen Dan Harms during a citizen's forum on whether there would be any issues facing the county with Nichols serving as treasurer after being a part of the independent audit team for the county, with Swartzendruber noting he does not see any red flags and expects her familiarity with the organization to be a positive.
Learned of a potential bridge issue to be addressed, as Highland Township Trustee Larry Goering spoke about a structure in the 7100 block of N. Oliver that is graded at a four-ton limit. With some residential development in that area and having seen school buses running on connecting roads, Goering questioned if that is a bridge that needs to be inspected and improved to handle heavier loads. Commissioners noted they would bring the issue to the attention of Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Meier to see where the bridge is on the replacement schedule.
Reviewed the statistics of the 911 Communications Department in the annual report presented by Director Don Gruver, who noted overall calls continued their downward trend, but there were isolated patterns of heavier traffic regarding certain departments and types of calls.