Barton Community College’s Science and Math building will no longer be a voting site for residents of Barton County Township-A. The Barton County Commission has approved a plan for the Road and Bridge Department to pave the parking lot at the Sheriff’s Firing Range located east of the college on NE 30 Road and that will allow the building on that site to be used as a voting site.
County Clerk/Election Officer Donna Zimmerman told the commissioners last Monday that the parking lot is covered with loose rock and must be paved to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. “The Sheriff’s Firing Range is a county-owned property and will work well for voting,” she said.
“And during the time of voting it would not be used as a firing range,” Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz commented.
“Exactly right,” Zimmerman said.
The project will cost up to $5,500 for the cold-mix asphalt laid by Road and Bridge and is expected to be done before the November general election.
Schartz said the commission appreciates the college allowing voters to come to the Science and Math Building in the past but that site will not work for new voting equipment. Voters also have to walk further at the college site than they will at the Sheriff’s Firing Range.
County sign replacement
In other business Monday, the commission approved awarding a contract for sign replacement on county roads. This project will cost $104,700 and will go to the low bidder, Martin Outdoor Enterprises Inc., based in Pittsburg. The cost is 100% funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation using federal funds, said Barry McManaman, county engineer. The only action required by the commission was to sign off on the project.
KDOT opened bids on May 22 for this High Risk Rural Roads Signing Project in Barton County and received four bids. McManaman said this type of work used to be done locally at a lower cost and the county was reimbursed; but, “the feds determined the state had been applying that improperly.” The sticking point was the definition of a “high risk” road project; the feds said the project must be bid unless the risk is urgent.
“It’s the federal government deciding a more expensive way to do our work,” Schartz said. “I would have done it the most economical way for the taxpayer.”
Barton County Clerk Donna Zimmerman presented a listing of abated/refunded taxes at the June 10 meeting. Three real estate items were listed with a value reduction of $1,779 and a tax refund of $306.32. Zimmerman said abatements have resulted in a valuation decrease of just over $3 million for the year. “This is consistent with previous years.” The valuation changes include gas, oil, personal property, real estate, 16/20 trucks and state assessed utilities.