Commissioner for a Day program coming back
The Barton County Commission will likely dust off a program from the past next fall. It was discussed when commissioners met Wednesday morning to reinstitute a “Commissioner for a Day.”
The concept is to allow high school government teachers from schools around the county to select five students who would spend a meeting day with the commission. The day would culminate in a mock meeting and votes would be taken, said District 1 Commissioner Kirby Krier. Krier had previously served on the commission when this was in place.
“I’d like to see us start that next fall,” he said. “It’s a great program.”
Other commissioners also thought it was a good idea.
Airport Road project moves forward
The long-anticipated project to resurface Airport Road advanced Wednesday morning as the Barton County Commission approved the bid of $857,855.34 from Venture Corporation of Great Bend for the Kansas Department of Transportation cost-share project on the 2.25-mile stretch of SW 40 Ave.
According to Barton County Engineer Barry McManaman, KDOT will fund 75% up to a $600,000 maximum of eligible costs. The county and the City of Great Bend are splitting the balance, which will be $257,855.34, leaving each to pay $128,927.67.
This is a unique situation in that about 60% of the road falls in the city and 40% in the county.
Roughly, the south-bound lanes fall within the city limits surrounding the Municipal Airport and industrial park, and the north-bound lanes fall within the county. The southern city limits end at SW 20 Road. But, since the city limits line along the road’s center is technically just over the center line, most of the total surface area falls inside the city.
The work involves milling off three-quarters of an inch of existing asphalt, then applying 2 inches of hot-mix overlay. Venture was the only bidder.
“It has been a long time coming,” said commission Chairman Shawn Hutchinson, District 3. This project has been in the works for about three years.
Commission OKs fed funds exchange
In order to have more latitude to use U.S. Department of Transportation funding on Barton County projects, the County Commission Wednesday morning approved the annual Kansas Department Of Transportation Federal Funds Exchange distribution.
Under this program, in short, federal funds are funneled through KDOT, which will keep 10% of the money and release the rest to the county, said County Engineer Barry McManaman. By doing this, there are fewer strings attached to the funding, allowing the county more flexibility in how they are spent.
“It is easier to use the money on projects we want to use it on,” he said.
The full amount for this year would be $218,665.79 on a project that would that would have to be designed using all federal requirements and restrictions. The county will instead take $196,799.21 and have the freedom to use the money on road and bridge work at the county’s discretion without following federal requirements.
This is something the county has done annually, McManaman said. The program has been in place since 2013.
Landfill engineering services approved
The Barton County Landfill operates under a permit issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock said, speaking to the County Commission Wednesday morning. By statute, the permit requires certain tasks be performed by a Kansas licensed professional engineer and geologist.
Historically, SCS Engineers of Wichita has provided the engineering services for the landfill. The county accepted proposals for the required services until May 3 and SCS provided the only bid at $$55,700 per year for a five-year contract.
The commission approved this bid.
Hathcock announced at the meeting that he was leaving Barton County to return to his hometown of Stafford, Va., to take a job as a solid waste director there. So, he negotiated with SCS for the contract that lasted five years instead of three as in previous years.
“I wanted to do this in case the next person in line needed some help,” he said. “I wanted to take that off the plate.”