It sounded like a rerun when Barton County commissioners Monday morning heard a complaint from Betty Filbert who lives in the Barton Hills area of South Homestead Township. She was lamenting how the township is maintaining the roads in her rural neighborhood.
Filbert has come before the commission on other occasions with concerns about Barton Hill road maintenance. Filbert attended two meetings last October with similar grievances.
So, in response Monday, the commission directed County Administrator Phil Hathcock to contact township officials to check on the situation.
“We’re having some issues with our roads again,” she said. “The roads are bad out there.”
She has called South Homestead Township Treasurer Randy Strickland who told her they had hired a road grader operator. However, “he only hit one of the roads and he had his blade up in the air,” she said, noting few improvements had been made.
There are potholes that drivers can’t avoid. “You can’t go down the road without hitting them and going into somebody’s yard,” she said.
“I was wondering if there was any way we could have the county take over the roads, or something,” she said.
Technically, the gravel roads in the county are the responsibility of the townships. Located at the intersection of U.S. 281 and NE 60 Road between Great Bend and Hoisington, Barton Hills falls in South Homestead.
“That’s something that we would probably have to get together and talk about with the township and see what we can do,” said Commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer. His First District includes South Homestead.
County Administrator Phil Hathcock said he saw the South Homestead grader doing some badly needed work in the township on NE 20 Avenue on Friday. But, he said he could visit with Strickland and see if the county could get him to pay some attention to Barton Hills.
“The last time we had a problem, we sent (County Works Director Darren Williams) up there to do Barton Hills,” Hathcock said. But, “the township has yet to pay us for that or some other work we have done installing culverts up there.”
It’s up to the commission if it wants to continue maintaining those roads, he said. But, “it’s taking away from other projects Darren has to work on and really, it’s not the county’s responsibility, it’s the township’s.”
Schremmer asked if commissioners could meet with township folks, and Hathcock said he could have them attend a meeting.
However Commissioner Schartz suggested Hathcock contact officials first. “Let’s see if he can get some movement in that direction” before calling them all before the commission.
“I know you get frustrated,” Schremmer said. “We will try to do the best we can.”
The county’s annual township meeting is set for Jan. 24 at the Great Bend Columbus Club.