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Workforce issues on commission agenda
new dehl Don Cates
Don Cates

County offices to close for New Year’s

Barton County Office Buildings will be closed Monday, Dec. 31, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, in observance of the New Year’s holiday. The Records Division of the Sheriff’s Office and the Health Department will be closed at this same time. The landfill will close to the public at 11 a.m., Monday, Dec. 31, in order to allow time to cover operational areas and will be closed on New Year’s Day.  Emergency services will be in normal operation. 
Also, due to the holiday, the next commission agenda meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2.

The Barton County Commission Wednesday morning took steps to help both job seekers and employers.
After a presentation by Deb Scheibler, Salina-based executive director of the Kansas WorkforceOne, the commission approved an updated agreement with the federally funding program. It also named one of its own, Don Cates, as a member of the agency’s Chief Elected Official Board.
According to Scheibler, the KansasWorks effort is funded by the United States Department of Labor via money that flows through the state to each of the five local areas in Kansas. Her area one covers 62 counties and about two thirds of the state.
How that money is spent is up to two separate boards. There is the Chief Elected Official Board that conducts oversight of the programs in an effort to assure that the mission is accomplished, and the Local Workforce Investment Board that determines the best use of the money to connect employers to employees.
The LWIB answers to the elected board and consists of representatives from business, education, rehabilitation services, public assistance agencies and public employment services. In addition, in compliance with the Workforce Investment Act, at least 51 percent of its members are from private businesses.
The updated agreement approved Monday just puts all of this in writing. Cates is the first Barton County commissioner to sit on the chief board.
 Scheibler said the WIA dates back to 1998. It replaced the Job Partnership Training Act.
“The idea is to create a motivated workforce with the necessary skills,” she said. This is done through Workforce Centers, like the one in Great Bend (one of nine in Area One), programs that help send people back to school, and partnerships with economic development organizations.
Most of the funding comes from the feds, either through the WIA or assorted grants. But, there is also some state money that helps with such efforts as training correctional facility inmates for jobs outside of prison.
In other business, the commission:
• Approved a resolution declaring  a 1,700-foot stretch of a county road about six miles northeast of Susank as minimum maintenance. On Dec. 3, the commission approved forwarding action on the road, located in Union Township (a portion of NE 210 Road from NE 20 Avenue west),  to the Barton County Planning Commission. It reviewed the request at their regular meeting on Dec. 11 and recommended that the declaration be made.
• Approved cereal malt beverage licensees. According to state law, no retailer shall sell any cereal malt beverage without having secured a license for that business. When a business is located in the unincorporated portion of the County, that application shall be made to the commissioners.
•  Approved a contract with Starbrite Cleaning for janitorial services for $1,000 per month to clean the Barton County Office Building. The county accepted bids for cleaning at the building, 1408 Kansas, until Dec. 12. Under the deal, Starbrite will clean the building after 5 p.m. each work day.  Bids were received from two vendors.  
• County Administrator Richard Boeckman provided an update on work completed by various county departments during the past couple weeks.
• Learned county officials are invted to a retirement reception for Register of Deeds Marcia Johnson. The reception will be held from 2-4 p.m., Friday in the conference room of the courthouse.