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Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015

County considers property purchase

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh, the suspense ...

Red Willow County commissioners directed County Attorney Paul Wood following a closed session Monday morning to negotiate the purchase of "a certain property," but Commission Chairman Earl McNutt added, with a sheepish grin, "No, we're not going to disclose what property ... not at this time."

Commissioners are leery of letting it be known what property they may be wanting the county to purchase because, in the past, when it was evident the county was interested, the owner of a property negotiated a better deal at a higher price and the county was sitting high-and-dry without the property.

Commissioners and Wood discussed the possible purchase in a 15-20 minute closed session during the commissioners' regular weekly meeting.

Commissioners decided, on a 2-1 split vote, to deny county medical assistance to Anna Perry Hutchinson on the grounds that her income exceeds program income guidelines. Following a public hearing at commissioners' Sept. 21 meeting, commissioners were told by County Attorney Paul Wood to base their decision -- "whether she qualifies or does not qualify" -- on the evidence presented, that her income is greater than income guidelines allow.

Commissioner Leigh Hoyt voted against Steve Downer's motion to deny benefits. "I just can't do it," Hoyt said. "I just can't deny her application."

Hutchinson is asking the county to pay for dental surgery and dentures. She has voluntarily cut her hours of work from 40 to 20 to continue to qualify for food stamps, which she said she may lose if she works more hours.

Hoyt wants Red Willow County to update its income guidelines to fall more into line with federal poverty guidelines, asking Wood if they could approve Hutchinson's application now and then change the guidelines.

Wood asked, "You want to approve her application on guidelines approved in the future?" He advised commissioners to research and study updates in income guidelines before approving any changes and approving or denying a possible reapplication by Hutchinson. Using guidelines not in effect "would open the doors to real troubles," Wood said.

Hoyt agreed that the guidelines could be reset and then Hutchinson could reapply, "but I don't want her to have to wait."

Commissioner Steve Downer said by statute, income guidelines may be reviewed and, if necessary, reset biannually. The guidelines used to determine qualification for the county's assistance programs were set in 1986.

Wood agreed that the income guidelines changes should be researched, but urged commissioners "to study it first ... do everything correctly."

Wood agreed to research the procedure necessary to review and to change income guidelines. Barb Hinz, of Nebraska Health and Human Services, whose McCook office administers the county's assistance programs, said she would provide income guidelines used by neighboring counties.

Hoyt asked that the issue be put on the agenda for the Oct. 5 meeting, "and if our ducks are in a row, vote on it."

Hoyt said he was having a hard time denying Hutchinson's claim. "What if it was my daughter sitting here?" he said. " ... maybe I'm wrong. We could be opening the flood gates" allowing other appeals of denials of benefits based on current income guidelines.

Wood said changing income guidelines may be as simple as an agenda item, a motion and a vote, but Commission Chairman Earl McNutt urged caution. "It may take some time to determine what's right for us," he said.

Downer's motion to deny benefits for Hutchinson -- based on evidence provided at the public hearing, he said -- included asking her to reapply if a change in income guidelines comes about. McNutt said, "No matter what people's personal feelings are, we still have to go by the guidelines in effect."

Hoyt cast the lone dissenting vote, telling Hutchinson, "Give us a chance to look at different income guidelines. I just can't believe -- with us using statistics from 1986 -- that there won't be some difference."

He continued, "My hope is that our guidelines will be high enough for you to qualify."

Hinz reiterated to commissioners that qualification on income is the first step, that Hutchinson will still need a determination from a medical professional that her condition is "life-threatening" and that estimates of the cost of all procedures will need to be presented before benefits can be finally approved.

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"She has voluntarily cut her hours of work from 40 to 20 to continue to qualify for food stamps, which she said she may lose if she works more hours."

Tell me what's wrong with this picture? I guess I have no problem working 40 hours just so that I don't have to RELY on government hand outs. If her employer cut her hours, that's different. Why can't people accept responsibility for their own actions, tighten their belts and get through this? Why are people looking for handouts all the time? I think I'd tell her to get your 40 hours back and start putting money aside to pay for the dental problems. If discussed before the procedure, the dentists in this town are very happy to work out a payment schedule. Everyone else does it. Why should she be exempt?

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Sep 29, 2009, at 11:47 AM

I have no problem helping people who help themselves. I don't know the full story with Ms. Hutchinson, and I'm not judging, but we do have too many people milking the system. Get out there and pull your weight! I see numbers and people that receive help in the surrounding area and it is astonishing to see some of the people on there and the people that know how to work the system. I know for a fact a lot of them go to the bars on the weekends, smoke, and eat out all of the time. We need to force people to become more responsible and not take care of them. They are fully capeable of fending for themselves in most cases. Look at other countries where people with disabilities find something they can do to provide for themselves and their families. Don't share my income, share my work ethic President Obama.

-- Posted by blueCollarWorker on Tue, Sep 29, 2009, at 1:26 PM

I personally know of others who keep their incomes low so they they can get the maximum amount of food stamps. They actually get more dollars worth of food stamps than they would earn working.

Putting the economics of this aside, it is sad that they are forced to sacrifice pride for a few dollars.

The whole HHS system could use a major overhaul so that those who really need help can receive it and those that are abusing it are revealed.

-- Posted by nifty50s on Tue, Sep 29, 2009, at 1:43 PM

I agree that it's not right to get more money by going on welfare. However what is that teaching our children? Where is the morality of it? Why do people who are on welfare continue to have more children just because they'll get a bigger paycheck? It shouldn't be that easy. I personally don't know Ms. Hutchinson's situation however if she "voluntarily" cut her own wages so she could go on food stamps, that tells me right there that something is not right. I would work my butt off before I had someone else paying for my family's care. Ok, so I don't get as much however at least I'd be doing it myself and could keep my head held up because I supported them and not the government.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Sep 29, 2009, at 3:07 PM

Secret negotiation of property, county signs up for cheap loans/grants, ah the sweet smell of a jail for Mahon.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Tue, Sep 29, 2009, at 8:43 PM

i agree, she shouldent have to cut her hours to get assistance. She should just the the help she needs. I see alot of good christian attitudes on here.

-- Posted by president obama on Wed, Sep 30, 2009, at 5:49 PM

I know Anna and where she has come from. In the words of Dr. Phil... "you can't change what you don't acknowledge". She was brought up in poverty with the system helping her parents out a lot. She had a VERY ill little brother whom took up a lot of the income with medical bills and medications. I am not defending her voluntary cut in hours or her willingness to do the bare minimum in order to keep her food stamps however this is the way that she was brought up and she knows no different way. She has all of about 24 years under her belt of the system caring for her and her family/children. I believe that you must take care of what you have now so you will still have it in the future. It doesn't sound like this is her policy if she is in desperate need of dentures!! A toothbrush and toothpaste don't cost too much. This is a prime example of children growing up to be just like their parents. If our children are not taught that working hard and taking care of yourself is of the highest importance, then this is what will happen. Once again.. she knows no different way of life than to let others care for her and pay her way! There comes a time in all of our lives that we must grow up and realize that we are ultimately responsible for ourselves. This is a prime time for her to realize it and for the system to bow out gracefully.

-- Posted by FormerMcCookie on Wed, Sep 30, 2009, at 9:57 PM

Well said...people need to break away from the mold and grow up. Find your responsibility and take it head on. Keep pushing for your goals. Don't make the same mistakes your parents did (if they did). Other's around these individuals also need to step and help them understand what is morally right and give them a direction of positiveness. Don't brush them under the rug. Show them that they can do it on their own and keep the heads held high.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Thu, Oct 1, 2009, at 10:45 AM

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