By Adrian Havlverstadt Special at Signal
The Kiowa County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. A time of prayer followed with Pastor Jeff Blackburn of Greensburg Mennonite Church. General business included approval of the agenda and minutes of the May 16 meeting.
Sheriff Lothman submitted three payroll changes for approval. Two of the changes were for new recruits, Mason Farmer as a part-time prison officer and Preston Capansky as a full-time deputy. The third payroll change was due to the resignation of a former employee, Mr. West. Lothman said the new body armor for Deputy Capansky will be purchased from the Special Equipment Fund. The department is currently advertising another dispatcher. More information and a job application for this position is available at www.kiowacokssheriff. com. Lothman said his recent hires came from Barclay College’s criminal justice program.
Leanna Banzet, treasurer of the Kiowa County Historical Society, informed commissioners of the search for a new director. Several applications are currently under consideration, and the 2023 budget request shows an increase directly linked to the salary of the next director.
Karen Butler, Register of Deeds, announced her retirement effective September 30. The county is currently seeking to fill his position. The commissioners commended Butler for his 12 years of outstanding service to the residents of Kiowa County.
Matt Christenson updated the County Computer Storage Backup and Upgrade Project. The material was ordered through Amazon. Asked by commissioners about the increased use of electric vehicles, Christenson mentioned that there is currently no charge to charge electric cars in the city of Greensburg. This service costs the city about $75 per month, paid from the city’s tourism budget. Eventually, charging stations will be needed across the county as national demand grows and user fees become a requirement.
Rhonda Fernandez presented Blue Cross Blue Shield renewal quotes. Since July 2021, the county has paid out $458,000 in claims, representing a loss ratio of 72%. Continuing with the same plan in 2023 is $958,826, a decrease of $120,000 from 2021 due to the county’s good loss ratio. Deductibles will remain at $1,000 for a single person and $2,000 for a family, and the monthly employee cost is $80 for a single person and $200 for a family. The renewal was approved. Additionally, Fernandez reported that Health Savings Account and High Deductible Health Plan limits are increasing for 2023. Starting in July, employees can contribute up to $2,850 per year, an increase of $100. .
Kristi Cooper updated Commissioners on recent tax corrections for real estate companies. Additionally, June 1 is the filing deadline for county offices on the ballot for the fall primary election. Written ballots require a minimum of five votes. Commissioner’s discussion
The commissioner’s discussion included recycling needs across the county. It looks like more dumpsters are needed for cardboard in several places. The question has been raised; are the materials actually recycled or do they just end up in a landfill? The cost of recycling is expensive. It was mentioned that some regions are struggling to recycle batteries from electric vehicles. Eventually, this could be a problem that Kiowa County will face. The next meeting of Commissioners was scheduled for June 6, 2022.