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Bridge ‘discovery’ changes inspection contract
Schartz appointed as KLPG delegate
new_deh_Jennifer Schartz new.JPG
Jennifer Schartz

Last November, the Barton County Commission approved an agreement with the engineering firm Kirkham Michael to perform the county’s biennial bridge inspection at a cost of $89 per bridge for a total of $32,930. But while inspectors contracted for 370 bridges, they realized this year that there are 371.

County Engineer Barry McManaman spoke at Monday’s Barton County Commission meeting and received approval for a $911 net increase to the final billing.

Any bridge in the county that is at least 20 feet long is subject to inspection. While driving to the various locations, McManaman said, the inspector crossed a “box bridge” in the northern part of the county that appeared to meet the criteria but had never been inspected. The bridge was built in 1980 but passed the inspection without issue, he said.

That wasn’t the only change that contributed to the added fee. Since the contract was approved last November, McManaman said, the Barton County Engineer’s Office has removed one bridge from the list and added two.

A bridge east of Kiowa Kitchen was replaced and therefore did not need to be inspected. Although the new bridge did not have to be inspected, it did require a $500 inventory certification, as did the newly “discovered” bridge.

KLPG delegate

In other business Monday, County Administrator Phil Hathcock said the commission needed to appoint a voting delegate to the Kansas Legislative Policy Group, a bipartisan coalition of 35 rural Kansas counties with the common interest of preserving the counties’ tax base and local control. Former commissioner Alicia Straub had served as the delegate until she was appointed to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Asked what the voting delegate would be required to do, Hatchcock mentioned quarterly meetings. The two-day KLPG 2019 annual meeting starts Thursday, Oct. 3, in Colby.

Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz said she is already on a number of committees or boards but would be willing to do it if no one else would. Commission Don Davis said he did not feel he should be appointed because he doesn’t plan to seek reelection after this year. Schartz was appointed.

Sheriff’s topics

Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir was not on the regular agenda but he was scheduled to talk to commissioners following the weekly department head meeting. Bellendir said he would be talking to the commissioners about plans to take in some prisoners from Sedgwick County at the jail, which will result in extra income. He also said he planned to discuss changing the daily rate charged at the impound lot, which is currently considerably lower than other lots.