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The Board of Brown County Commissioners met in regular session with the following members present: Chairman Dwight A. Kruse, Keith Olsen, and Richard L. Lehmkuhl.

The Brown County Commission heard plans from the NEK Area Agency on Aging to take over Meals on Wheels from the Hiawatha Community Hospital.

The commissioners heard these discussions on Monday morning as they met in regular session, with Commissioner Richard Lehmkuhl joining via Zoom.

Karen Wilson, director of NEK-AAA, told the commission that they will begin taking over the Meals on Wheels program from the hospital and offer a combination of frozen and hot meals until their new facility is built with a kitchen.

NEK-AAA adopted a Shelf Stable Meal program this summer, thanks to the Older Americans Act grant, which provided $25,000 to serve 8,000 meals throughout the county this summer.

“So we know the need is there,” Wilson said, noting they hope to make the Meals on wheels countywide.

Shelf Stable Meals have been provided for residents age 60 and older and Wilson said those are ongoing.

John Broberg, CEO of Hiawatha Community Hospital, which currently provides the Meals on Wheels program said the collaboration of the new program is a welcome one, as services for the critical care access hospital are stretched thin.

Broberg confirmed that 847 meals were served through the Meals on Wheels program in October.

Wilson said the county currently pays $1.80 a meal and a 50 cents a mile subsidy for delivering of the meals and she said that while food costs have increased since those fees were set several years ago that price will be acceptable for the time being.

In other business:

The commissioners discussed hiring another employee for Services of the Elderly as Director Wanda Davis was present to discuss her pay and time off as she is also covering the Activities Director position at the Horton center. In addition, the commission decided to close the Senior Center until Jan. 4 — at which time the situation would be re-evaluated due to the virus. The Horton facility will be closed until a new employee is hired.

After much discussion, the commission decided to close the Brown County Courthouse and offices starting Nov. 30, due to the increased county COVID-19 cases. Each office will be working remotely and offer services through phone, email and website. See the county website at www.brcoks.org for more information or the story on Page 2 of Friday’s edition.

Don Pounds discussed issues with SPARKS Fund accounting, noting that his office is behind due to guidelines being changed and quarantines in the CPA office handling the accounts. He also told commissioners that some supplies he had in storage had been stolen and he was working with the police on the investigation. Pounds told the commissioners that the Health Department was also in need of additional storage and they should be looking for additional facilities for these needs.

Brown County Appraiser, Steve Markham, discussed the current job openings in his office. Markham stated he is going to put off hiring until the county gets back to normal. He is also going to ask for quotes to outsource valuation statements.

The November 18, 2020, payroll was approved as follows: General $71,616.48; Road & Bridge 13,008.75; Election 2,220.77; Technology 324.63; Appraiser 7,431.77; Noxious Weed 1,025.63; ACC 10,851.85; JJA Core 10,246.59; Reinvestment Grant 3,249.91; Services for Elderly 2,205.00; Solid Waste 6,851.75; Special MVT 8,455.41; Employee Ben FICA 8,352.17; Employee Ben KPERS 10,322.89; State Unemploy/Work Comp -210.06; Insurance -12,000.98. TOTAL $143,952.56.

The commissioners agreed to sign a letter of support for KANZA Mental Health to provide transportation services to clients through the KDOT program.

Brad Rahe and Duke Snider were present to discuss the bids received last week.

The Commission voted to accept the bid from Martin Mechanical for $147,178.

Robin Downard, Brown County Health Officer, discussed the school setting modified quarantine. She asked the commission to review the document.Commissioner Richard Lehmkuhl made a motion to accept the updated contact tracing and exclusion of contacts in a low risk school setting. Dwight Kruse seconded the motion and the vote was 2-1 with Commissioner Olsen voting against the motion.

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