Skip to content Skip to navigation

Commission Board Meeting on Wed, January 10, 2018 - 6:00 PM

Meeting Agenda: 


6:00 p.m.
-Election on Commission Officers

(1) (a)  Consider approval of Commission Orders; and
(b) Consider renewal of the Jail’s mental health services contract with Bert Nash  
(Gary Bunting);
(c) Consider authorizing the County Administrator to issue check in the amount of $200,000 to Peaslee Tech Training Center in partial down payment of debt on Peaslee Building as authorized in 2018 Budget. (Weinaug);
(d) Consider approval of agreement to treat Noxious Weeds for KDOT (Keith Browning)

(2) Presentation/update on capital and operating financing options for capital projects including jail and behavior health projects (Sarah Plinsky)- backup added

(3) Presentation on behavioral health operating preliminary estimates update (Bob Tryanski)-backup added

(4) Adjourn


Related Document(s): 
Meeting Location: 
County Courthouse
Street Address: 
1100 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044, USA
Meeting Minutes: 

January 10, 2018

Thellman called regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 with all Commissioners present. 
Derusseau moved to nominate Nancy Thellman as chair of the County Commission for 2018. Motion was seconded by Gaughan and carried 3-0.

Thellman moved to nominate Michelle Derusseau as Vice-Chair of the County Commission for 2018. Motion was seconded by Gaughan and carried 3-0.
Thellman moved approval of the following Consent Agenda:
►  Commission Order No. 18-003 (on file in the office the County Clerk);
►  Amended Health Care Services Contract with Bert Nash for services for the Corrections Facility;
►  Authorized the County Administrator to issue check in the amount of $200,000 to Peaslee Tech Training Center in partial down payment of debt on Peaslee Building as authorized in 2018 Budget; and
►  Agreement with KDOT for the treatment of noxious weeds on state highway rights-of-way in 2018.

Motion was seconded by Derusseau and carried 3-0.
Sarah Plinsky, Assistant County Administrator, made a presentation to the Board on capital and operating financing options for capital projects including the jail and behavior health projects.

Plinsky explained the differences between how the City can enact a sales tax versus the County. Cities can raise sales taxes with a vote up to 3%. The County requires state legislature approval to raise taxes. There is a $.01 tax approved in 1994.  The County retains .365 of that $.01. The County uses their portion, .365 of the existing $.01 tax, to finance existing jail debt and operating costs on the existing jail, as well as, debt on the Community Health building. The City of Lawrence uses their proceeds of the $.01 to fund Parks and Recreation and their portion of debt for the Community Health Building. Cities and counties often put very different projects under one authorization because it’s about the funding source not the project. We have a history in this community of putting a sales tax in place with different projects associated with it. She also used the example of Johnson County just authorized a countywide sales tax for the rebuilding of their courthouse. In that percentage the cities get to keep their portions which will be used for a variety of different projects.

In additional to the one-cent sales tax, Douglas County has two existing authorized but not used authorities: a quarter-cent for conservation/heritage and a half-cent that is not shared with the City for court/jail/mental health needs. As the authorization is written, it cannot be used for less than a half-cent distribution and is designed for multiple projects. Douglas County is the 30th county out of 105 counties to seek this type of special legislation by statute.

Property taxes can be raised to finance both capital and operating expenditures through an election. Kansas cities and counties live under a property tax lid limiting a counties ability to raise taxes. Under a property tax the items could be separate items on a ballot. The mill levy impact for both the behavioral health and jail initiatives would be approximately 11.27 mill increase of the 2018 mill rate. Given the complications of a mill levy tax lid, with a public building commission requirement, it is estimated it would take 6-7 months to put that timeline in place.

With GO Bond Debt Financing, we cannot exceed more that 3% of our total evaluation making our limit $42.8 million which is not enough to finance both projects. Sales tax supported bonds are not limited to GO Bond Assessed values. By statute, counties cannot issue GO Debt without an election.

The County Clerk has recommended a special election be conducted by mail ballot to determine financing the behavioral health and jail expansion initiatives. Mail ballot elections receive a higher voter turnout and it is easier for the clerk to administer. The cost of waiting until a November election is a 2.5% increase in capital projects every six months; $2.2 million projection to house inmates outside of our county; and the legal obligation to house individuals

Thellman opened the item for public comment. No comment was received.

No action was taken.

Bob Tryanski, Director of Behavior health Projects, made a presentation to the Board on behavior health operating preliminary estimates.

Tryanski updated the Commission on the many meetings and items in the works. He has set up interviews for the Integrated Crisis Team (ICT) for this coming Friday. This team will serve people where they are with a mobile response team. He discussed the expanded vision of behavior health with people moving from crisis to recovery and to prevention as a practice. Our focus is on intervention, recovery and prevention includes making supportive housing a priority. After much discussion, it was determined we can reduce the crisis building to house 8-16 people and in return build a Tier II housing option that can hold 22 people. Tryanski said he did not have a budget proposal today but has asked each agency involved to create a budget for stand-alone services and we will proceed from there to eliminate duplicate services. There are many opportunities for efficiencies to reduce duplications.

Tryanski said Jon Stewart with Heartland Community Health could not be here tonight to discuss the good news, but the Sunflower Foundation is investing $200K over a two-year period to improve services with a Behavior Health Consultant to be available 24/7 in the new LMH units. The hospital will fund the salary and benefits for these positions for three years. Sunflower will pay for a behavior health consultant. Tryanski said peer certifications will begin January 26-27 with a 32 hour course. So far 20 people have registered for the program.

Sarah Plinsky, Assistant County Administrator, said when you look at the total campus we are estimating $13 million, but $2 million of that $13 million would be refunded to the County by the Housing Authority to pay for Tier III housing bringing a total cost for construction to around $11 million. Currently there is a lot of site work that needs to be done on that property. Plinsky said the annual debt service on that property would be like a mortgage payment of $750,000 annually though bond rates are subject to change.

Costs regarding the operations within the community mental health center space, Bert Nash would oversee the 23-hour observation and Tier I Stabilization and Respite Care at $1.3 million. Heartland RADAC would provide the sobering service estimated at a cost of $530K which also includes barrier reduction costs and intensive care coordination. The estimate from DCCCA for detox is $455K estimated to serve 660 people per year. We will also need medical staffing for this center and hope to share staffing. Tryanski is estimating that cost at $720K. The operating subtotal is estimated at $4 million, net revenue at $3.2 million.

Jason Hess, RADAC, discussed the differences between the proposed crisis center setup and the RSI setup.

Patrick Schmitz, Bert Nash, described the mobile response team. The team will meet people where so they are to stabilize, bringing better service to the people with a greater impact and still saves costs. Schmitz said the team gets well versed in suicide and crisis management. It can have a staggering effect on the community with a proposed 68% success rate.

Sandra Dixon, DCCCA, stated regarding the tiered housing the County can provide a support match for a private grant for construction. Service delivery and transitional housing on the campus can utilize some existing staff. We can bill some other resources for peer support for example and possibly receive city liquor tax money that can serve that population. Dixon said residents feel better they are expected to get jobs and pay rent. The hope is they get stable and move out to their own home.

Prevention sources discussed include a long-term strategic plan, proposing a zero suicide system, extending WRAP into the Baldwin and Eudora school system, and setting up an opioid crisis summit.  Tryanski explained a new app that everyone in Douglas County can enroll in to help them manage depression, anxiety and chronic pain called MyStrength app. Anyone can test the app by enrolling with the code Douglasguest33. Dixon suggested using the app anytime someone does not feel like themselves.

Thellman asked Dixon to give a brief overview on the opioid issue in Douglas County. Dixon said the number one drug of choice in Douglas County is methamphetamine (meth); it used to be alcohol. There is growing opioid use in our community. In 2017, between January and June, Douglas County has the highest number of prescribed opioids in the state of Kansas.

At 7:20 p.m., the Board took a 10 minute recess to return at 7:30 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m., the Board returned to regular session.

Thellman opened the item for public comment.

David Abar, 3902 Tumbleweed Court, said he thinks it is important for the crisis center and the jail expansion to be separated on a ballot.

Mike Fonkert, 211 E 8th Street, said it seems it will cost more to do these projects with a property tax than a sales tax. He urged the Commission to put the jail expansion and crisis center as separate items on a ballot.

Sarah Plinsky responded we are looking at a combination of sales tax and property tax. The ballot item will be for a sales tax. In the campaign we will make it clear a portion will be added to property tax at some time. Gaughan added there will be a lid on the property tax.

Steve Lewis, 625 N 775 Road, stated there are statutory requirements shown for the jail. He asked if there is a statutory requirement for Douglas County to provide a mental health initiative. 

Plinsky responded “no.”

Thellman asked if every county is required to provide mental health services through the Health Department. Plinsky responded many counties use federal funds for mental health services.

Lewis asked if the statutory requirement for the jail obligates the Sheriff to provide a jail facility. Weinaug responded that is correct. Lewis said the people that are opposed to the jail need to know that. He said he is in favor of both the initiatives on the ballot together to provide the best service for those arrested. Our County probably does the best in the whole state and across the country. Lewis said we have a nationally recognized program. People who are incarcerated are not getting the chance to take advantage of those programs when they are shipped out of Douglas County.

Bill Simons, 2708 W 27th Terrace, said at the last meeting he was struck by the need to have compassion for those all around. There is no doubt we are overcrowded in the jail. He feels there are safety concerns, and we are sending people out of County at a cost and they are not getting the benefits of our programs. For the most part people are in jail because they violated a rule.  Simons said to those with concerns about the jail and people’s longer stays, they needs to pour more effort into the state laws that put the people in the jail by looking at our state legislature if we don’t agree. The fact remains people are in jail. He recognizes we have an overcrowding situation and can only be taken care of by modifications. He asked the public to keep an open mind or you will leave our Sheriff’s office in an awful situation.

Thellman closed the public hearing.

Thellman stated there will be no decisions tonight. Decisions will be made regarding the type election and ballot items at the January 17, 2018 meeting.

No action was taken.

Thellman moved to approve accounts payable in the amount of $721,378.88 to be paid on 01/11/18.  Motion was seconded by Derusseau and carried 3-0.

Derusseau moved to appoint C.L. Maurer to the Building Code of Appeals Board for a four-year term to expire 12/31/21. Motion was seconded by Thellman and carried 3-0.
Thellman moved to adjourn the meeting. Motion was seconded by Gaughan
and carried 3-0.

____________________________  ____________________________
 Nancy Thellman, Chair                     Michelle Derusseau, Vice-Chair
 ____________________________ _____________________________  
Jamie Shew, County Clerk                 Mike Gaughan, Member