County Commission Meeting – 12/30

Matt Harris on Indian Road has a spot right in front of his house where the water is running over the road when we get a lot of rain. He is concerned that the way the water is flowing is coming up around his house.

There was some discussion about the vacation policy for the people working on road & bridge crews. Too many employees are taking vacation all at the same time–particularly at the end of the year. Marty is also concerned that some employees are wearing improper footwear.

Allen Warren made a motion to go into executive session with Marty to discuss non-elected personnel issues (not related to vacation or attire).

At 10 am, the budget amendment hearing started. Employee benefits and road and bridge are expected to exceed the budget. The proposal was to adjust the budget to meet the expected expense. In order to avoid a budget violation the Commissioners will move some money from the general account where they had more income than expected to the accounts where they spent more. Exceeding the budget without amendment would put the county in violation of state law.

All objections were heard and a motion was made an passed to accept the amendment to the budget.

There was some discussion about the increase in employee benefits and if there was a plan to keep the cost of insurance from continuing to climb. The amended budget for health insurance in 2011 totals $1,557,560. With 100 paid county employees this works out to over $15,000 per employee. Some employees do not take county insurance, so the actual cost per employee is higher. (It was unclear if this figure includes the amounts that employees contribute to cover their families.)

The commissioners expressed concern that since they have not given raises for the past four years, health insurance is one of the main reasons people will work for the county. Chairman Endicott said, it is hard to get people to apply for jobs as it is.

The Commissioners were asked if there was a long term plan for dealing with the increasing costs of employee benefits. They said there wasn’t. They were also asked if the plan was to just raise the mill levy as needed to cover the increased costs of employee benefits. The Commissioners asked if there were any suggestions for dealing with other increases such as gas prices pointing out that other costs were going up as well.

There was some discussion about capping the amount that the county spends on employee benefits.

This is the first payroll that the county has done direct deposit. Employees that work in the court house will get the receipts for their payroll check in the office, but the ones that don’t work in the court house will get it in the mail.

The County Attorney (Terri Johnson) clarified that the attorney that the AG office did get the first letter requesting that they look into allegations against the County Treasurer. The letter that they didn’t receive was the second letter where the AG’s office had requested additional information from the County Attorney.

Dan Meara has yet to provide the list of people who have property that could be sold, but will be held off because it wasn’t published correctly. The Commissioners asked the Clerk’s office to request the lists from Dan Meara for the meeting on January 6th.

FortScott.biz has previously requested a copy of the list showing which property owners overpaid and which underpaid on their taxes. This information is not in the Commissioner’s hands so they could not provide it. FortScott.Biz took the position that the data belonged to the county and that the whether the physical bits reside shouldn’t matter and if it was simply a matter of requesting the data from Terry Sercer, it should be subject to a Kansas Open Records Act Request.

Terri Johnson (County Attorney) has contacted the Attorney Generals office to find out if there is any reason not to release the data and if it is indeed subject to KORA. She said that she thinks that list doesn’t actually belong to the County, but that they can request it. She suggested that the Commissioners need to request that information eventually in order to refund people who overpaid. She also pointed out that if the information is published the community needs to be careful not to vilify citizens who may have underpaid even though they were acting in good faith and paying what they had been told they owed.

Arcadia Area News

The Christmas Eve Communion Service was well attended this week in the Arcadia Open Door Mission. Pastor Roy Widmar led the singing of Christmas Songs and prayer time. He then spoke of the true meaning of Christmas after Linda Bridgewater sang a solo. Two couples then held the Bread and Communion Trays and the congregation went forward to partake at the same time. All were invited to attend Christmas Sunday morning services in Arcadia Christian Church.


A good number of regular and also guests were present in the Christmas Morning services in Arcadia Christian Church led by Pastor Charles Cable assisted at prayer time by Dave Bridgewater. Clay Carrington led the singing with Cable at the piano. Carol Bridgewater read the Christmas Story from the Book of Luke. Guest Landon Younge sang a special song accompanying himself on his guitar. Linda Bridgewater favored us with a solo “WHAT CHILD IS THIS?” Christi Parrish read the Christmas Story from the book of Matthew. Vera Parrish read an original Christmas poem written by John Parrish. They were pleased to have as their guests their daughter, Janet & Mark Van Leeuwen from St. Paul, Kansas and their daughter Tara Van Leeuwen, a beautician from Florida. Wayne & Christie Parrish gave Christmas wrapped gifts to the Ladies. Among other guests present were Charles Corporon & Rose Campbell from Pittsburg and Larry & Vicki Shead, Garland. It was announced the usual First Sunday dinner, Jan 1, 2012 will be held on January 5, due to the holiday.

We are sorry to read of the death of a former Arcadian, Weymouth Jones Filkins who was born and raised in Arcadia. a1940 Graduate of Arcadia High School. She and Mel Filkins built the large beautiful home on Haller Hill just west of Arcadia. Later years they moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa. After three month illness, at age 89 she died on December 14. Burial will be later in Pittsburg, Kansas. Condolences to the family..


Keith and Glen Twombly of Pittsburg took Walter Foulk to Independence, MO to visit his niece Fanny Mae Christinson. She has been ill but improving and glad far the visit.


The JOY Sunday School Class gives thanks to all who help save 1000 BEST CHOICE UPC ‘S. This is one of the ways the Class earns the funds they use to help people. Please keep saving for the send-in next December.


After a business trip to Ft. Scott, Charles Corporon and sister, Mary V. Shead traveled to Frontenac to deliver JOY Christmas Cookies to Bill Dobbins in Sunset Manor. There she met a friend from College Days at PSU, Janet Dalton who was a Freshman roommate of another AHS graduate, Velma Eggen Jewell. The visit was short but sweet!

On to Pittsburg, they visited Rose Campbell and the next stop was in the Cafe in Asbury, MO. They enjoyed a fine lunch, then on to Joplin for a visit with Mary V’s High School Class mate & husband, Juanita & Owen McWilliams. The ladies graduated from AHS in 1936. The same year, Juanita was chosen Year Book Queen. She showed her picture to Charles. This led to talk of Good Old School Days.

Nearby, lives Nelson & Eloise Corporon, so the travelers spent a delightful afternoon visiting their brother and sister. .


Ruth Holland, former Arcadian, more recently of Liberal, MO died December 22, 2011 in a Kansas City Hospital. The funeral will be held Tuesday, December 27 in Liberal Christian Church. Her sons are Don Holland of Lamar, MO and Howard & Louise Holland, Liberal, MO.


Larry & Vickie Shead spend Wednesday & Thursday last week ,December 21,22 in Tulsa visiting their family members, Marie & Clayton Whitson and Mitzi & Joel Ray and three little ones, Cademon, Atalie & Ryan. Back home on Christmas Day, they served dinner to his Mother, Mary V. Shead, his Uncle Charles Corporon and their friend Rose Campbell after attending church that morning.

Espressly For You

Expressly For You is a coffee shop located 19th street and 69 across from Shepherd’s car dealership. It is owned by Judy and Phil Friedrick and opened for business about 5 1/2 years ago.

Jackie Webster looks out the drive through window.

Expressly For You serves breakfast and lunch with specialty drinks, soups, waffles, cookies, sandwiches and much more.

When I visited I spoke with Jackie Webster who was working the front. She said that most everything they serve is homemade. She said it can take a few minutes to make the drinks or cook a waffle. If customers are in a hurry they can call ahead so it will be ready when they arrive.

The inside of the store is nice decorated, clean and friendly. Having never been in the store, it was quite a bit bigger than I expected.

Expressly For You is open 7 – 2 on Monday through Friday for drive up and in store service. If you want to call ahead, their number is 620-223-1333.

Refunds For Overpayments?

According to the audit report by Mr. Sercer, most individuals on the payment plan overpaid their interest by $800. Now that the County is aware of this error, it would seem that they would be required to send refund checks to the individuals who paid too much in interest.

It doesn’t appear that this has happened. The information about who overpaid is not in the report. It would be part of the details of the audit. These details have not been made available because they have not be requested from Mr. Sercer. The Commissioners, who ordered the audit, are hesitant to request the audit details because they feel that the Attorney General’s office may conduct an investigation and the release of the audit details would compromise the investigation.

On the other hand, the county has something of an obligation to quickly give people their money back if they were charged interest they did not owe. Even if this isn’t a legal statute it is surely an ethical requirement. In some situations, it might just be a matter of taking the overpaid interest and applying it to any outstanding tax bill for current years, but in others it may be a matter of issuing someone an $800 check.

Without the audit details, it is impossible to know who needs a refund, but there are some complicated scenarios that may to arise.

First, if someone has overpaid in the past, how is that money applied to other delinquent taxes? It would seem that their interest would need to be recalculated to keep from penalizing them for money they had been incorrectly charged.

Second, if someone is owed money due to an incorrect calculation by the county, they may be entitled to receive interest on that money. Federal taxes have a provision where the IRS can owe tax payers interest in certain situations and their may be a similar state laws.

The third scenario that may complicate things for the county involves a tax payer who has overpaid on the payment plan, but currently has property in the process of being prepared for sale for other unpaid taxes. If they have money owed them by the county and the property is sold, what happens to the extra money? If the amount was more than what they owed (unlikely), then the county would be in the position of foreclosing on someone who had paid all their taxes.  If it is for less, then the county would be in the postion of foreclosing on someone without telling them how much they actually owed.

Now it is impossible to say if anyone is in any of these situations or not. At this point, Mr. Sercer and his firm are the only ones who have the information, but it seems like it would be in the best interest of the county to make  the details public before that tax sale. Otherwise there is a chance that it will put the county into a very tricky position.

 

 

Arcadia Area News

Arcadia friends were happy to hear from Emory and Betty Briggs who live in Nowata, OK. At Thanksgiving time they entertained both Betty’s family and Emory’s family and are making plans for a similar Christmas Holiday dinner.


The Sunday before Christmas, Willa Cable, Patty Peterson and Mary V. Shead visited Mae Watt and served her Communion that afternoon and delivered to her JOY Cookies. Later that evening, the three ladies went to Ft. Scott and enjoyed supper at Wendy’s and toured the city to see beautiful homes decorated for the season.


Jo Robarts of Franklin, Kansas has been assisting postmaster in the Arcadia Post Office during this busy Christmas season. We welcome her to town.


On December 20. Presbyterian Village in Ft. Scott invited friends to an elegant wine & cheese party. It was a fine time for rekindling friendships with tenants to their former neighbors and friends. Family members were invited to join in the music, food and fellowship time.


A Christmas Brunch was hosted by the Joy Makers of the Liberal, MO. Christian Church on Monday, December 12, 2011. Biscuits, Gravy, Egg Casserole, Fruit and Juice were served to seventeen ladies. Louise Holland as Chairman led the games, drawings and gave each lady a special gift. Peggy Worsley, formerly of Arcadia read a poem concerning YES, JESUS LOVE ME. Mary Lee Payne, Arcadia guest, won the Poinesetta Plant. Kay Waring guessed the closest number of mints in a bag. Other guests from Arcadia were Helen Sisney and Mary V. Shead, Judy Rawlings. Local ladies present were Grace Bryant, Leota McClendon, Carolyn Noyes, Ruth Holland, Valorie Worsley, Karen Carpenter, Pat Thomas, Marjorie Jones,, Grace Wolf, Carolyn Clark, Kay Waring. It was a delightful morning to greet and meet new friends.


In Arcadia Christian Church on December 18, special guests came for Morning worship Hour, Hardy Dunn, Pittsburg; Jack & Mary Lee Payne, to honor her sister, Jessie Eggen Dunn as she presented a piano solo consisting of favorite hymns. Following sermon time, Pastor Cable offered a $5.00 Bill to someone who would come forward and give the correct answer to a question. Clay Carrington stepped forward. The question: Have you done anything to earn this $5.00? The answer NO! So he won! All were wished MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year. Be reminded on Christmass Morning, there will be no SS classes held and Morning Worship will be 10:30 AM in Arcadia Christian Church.

All are welcome to attend this service. Also all have been invited to attend a Communion Service in Open Door Mission on Christmas Eve at 5:30 PM