Busy Day for Commissioners on Monday

Several important issues came before the County Commission in their meeting Monday morning. Although the Department Head Meeting was canceled due to lack of availability of personnel to attend, the commissioners had a number of issues on their agenda that they had to deal this morning.

Brian Streit, Courthouse Maintenance Supervisor, met with the commissioners and County Clerk, Chris Treaster, in a ten-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. Following the meeting, Streit told commissioners he is looking at taking bids for a heat-pump air conditioning air conditioning system for the big room of the Mitchell County Court Room upstairs and possibally Melissa Lathes, Appraiser's Office, in the basement of the courthouse. He said they want a similar system to the only installed in the commission room already. Streit was told to take bids on the project and bring them back for the commissioner's approval.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, brought in the bids on a new excavator and a new utility trailer, received from Casey Fraser, Foley Tractor, Salina and Scott Hartman, Victor L. Phelps Co, Wichita at the February 10, Commission Meeting. Scott Hartman was present this morning for the meeting.

After discussion with Emerson about what he felt best met his department's needs; the commissioners approved going with the low bids on all three pieces of equipment and purchasing the new excavator, the 35-ton air ride trailer as well as the breaker attachment from Scott Hartman of the Victor L. Phelps Co. of Wichita for a total price of $126,600. They will put the old trailer out for sealed bids.

Emerson said there is $287,000 in of their Special Equipment fund. He will take the excavator and break attachment cost out of that fund and the trailer out of their line item fund. This will leave enough in the equipment fund to buy a new road edge mower later this year. He estimates the mower will cost between eleven and thousand dollars.

John Cashatt, retired Schwab-Eaton engineer, hired as the County Bridge Inspector, brought in a bridge report. He inspected 16 bridges in the county that were seen by the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers as needing to be checked on a 12 month basis. He saw no problems with any of the bridges and explained the inspection process he uses.

As to the bridge south of Beloit that the county wants to repair, this bridge is on the Kansas Historical Register. In order to make the necessary repairs they have to remove it from the historical status. They also have to agree to place three other bridges in the county on the historical register to suit the Kansas Historical Society and U.S. Army Corp. of Engineer's stipulations. This would then allow the county to fix the bridge in question as they see fit and in their own due time.

The three bridges Cashatt felt should be chosen for that change would be one north of the old Robert Kresin farm. The second bridge is close to Ron Heller's farm north of the Hunter road and one mile from the Victor road. The third bridge is one mile south of the Jewell County line. All three of these bridges are in good enough shape that they shouldn't need repairs for a long time, according to Cashatt. He has done a lot of work on getting this straightened out and has written a memorandum of consent between the county and the historical society to be sent in for their consideration.

Cashatt told the commissioners they need to start barking back about these two-year bridge inspections. They should be the same as the big bridges because they don't get near the traffic that big bridges see in that same amount of time. They should only need to be checked maybe every 10 to 20 years." These inspections cost the county a lot of money and KDOT won't fight your battle against the Corp of Engineers for you," he said.

Emerson said the county wants to get the bridge south of Beloit repaired as soon as possible and they hope to move the process with the Corp and the Historical Society along to get it fixed as soon as they can. Cashatt said, they will have to wait and get written permission to do this but he thinks the time line they are looking at to have it released is about six weeks. Chairman Jim Marshall thanked Cashatt for all his hard work.

County Appraiser Melinda Latham and County Attorney Mark Noah went into a 10-minute executive session with the commissioners to discuss pending litigation. No decisions were made during the meeting.

Sondra Hone, County Health Department ext in a 15-minute executive session with commissioners to discuss non-elected personnel. No decisions were made.

Commissioner Tom Claussen said he would be going to Topeka tomorrow to testify on Senate Bill #411 having to do away with the present form of County Extension Districts. This would add one more item to the county budget. Claussen feels the districts have been very conservative with their funds in the past. He said, "I will be testifying against the bill. I feel if the system isn't broke why fix it." Community Development Director, Heather Hartman was present and suggested he also sit in on the discussion in the afternoon on House Bill # 2614 which deals with moving elections from spring to the fall of the year. Claussen plans to do that.

Commissioners approved a Neighborhood Revitalization application for James and Elaine Campbell for a 60x17x153 foot farm storage shed in School District #273 in the amount of $118,500.

The County Department Head Meeting planned for 10 a.m. was canceled due to many of those to involved having other obligations at that time. Since The Counties Internet Policy was to be discussed so a copy of that policy will be sent to each department head for discussion in the near future as this needs to be decided as soon as possible.

The Commissioners and County Clerk Chris Treaster left for Osborne to attend a Multi County Meeting following the close of the meeting. The next commission meeting will be held on February 24 at 8:30 a.m.

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