At the weekly meeting at the Geary County offices June 29, county commissioner’s heard reports from department directors and updates to 2021 budget preparation across the county.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, commissioners discussed and passed the County Coronavirus Relief Fund Resolution which serves as guidance for how the distribution of money from the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas program.

The funding from the SPRAK program will be used to address health and economic challenges inflicted by COVID-19.

Tammy Von Busch, Geary County Health Department administrator gave the weekly COVID-19 update stating that as of Monday, Kansas has had 47 cases, 15 are active.

Anne Smith, aTa Bus executive director, gave a presentation on how the organization has been operating before and since COVID-19.

Between the fourth quarter of 2017 and fourth quarter of 2019, Junction City has seen an 83% increase in ridership, she said.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic changes have been made to the routes and bus capacity she said.

“We are currently operating a reduced schedule here in Junction City, in Geary county, as well as in Manhattan, and in Pottawattamie county as well,” Smith said. “We have reduced capacity on all buses to 50%. So, there can only be a maximum of 10 people allowed on the bus at any one time. We have removed availability of the first row of seats on every bus, so that the drivers have about 6 feet of social distancing.”

The reduced schedule consists of 13 less stops in Junction City. A map of the route can be found at https://www.rileycountyks.gov/1683/Bus-Routes.

Jon Thummel, Geary County Human Resources director, gave his weekly report to commissioners including Memorandum 2020-30 which was a request from the executive director of Community Corrections to increase pay for the Geary County Community Corrections Director Chrysann Phipps. Commissioners discussed how well Phipps has done in the position and after a motion was made by Commissioner Brad Scholz that was seconded by Commissioner Charles Stimatze, the motion passed with a unanimous vote.

The commission went into executive session at 11:37 a.m. for 15 minutes to discuss nonelected personnel and legal advice. A 5-minute extension was granted, and no action taken.

Kay Schmidt, CPA, reported updates to the 2021 budget saying that more departments have reported their numbers but she is still missing some.

Representatives from 3 Rivers, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities and seniors live, work and be active in the community. Erica Christie, director of supports and services talked to commissioners about the program and projects they are working on.

“We had an overwhelming response from employers, educators, and even the mayor came and did an introduction,” she said. “We had 30 students from the high school that came to learn about pre employment support. How do you make a resume? What are two things to be successful on the job? Then we took them on a tour of the Footlocker and they talked to them about their disability employment program as one of our focuses is an youth employment and youth employment readiness.”

Christie said they have also seen success in the work they have been doing with the Warrior Transition Battalion on Fort Riley as a resource for soldiers in their transition planning.

The final business of the meeting was Therese Hoff, deputy county clerk, discussing the minutes from June 15 and June 22 with commissioners before they were approved.

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