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Commission backs Sunflowers transportation grant request
Firm hired to do biennial county bridge inspections
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Cow Creek group to meet Thursday

The Cow Creek Floodplain Working Group will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Hoisington Activity Center, 1200 North Susank Road, Hoisington. The Cow Creek Floodplain Working Group will discuss the draft floodplain map that has been developed by the Kansas Division of Water Resources. Township officials have been invited to participate. There will be a public open house to review the new floodplain maps later this year or early next year.

 The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a letter supporting Sunflower Diversified Services’ application for a Kansas Department of Transportation grant applications. The funds would be used to continue the operation of the General Public Transportation System. 

The total of the three grants covering fiscal year 2018 (which starts in July 2017) is $311,800. The agency is requesting operating and administration funds from KDOT in the amount of $270,000 for the public services and $5,000 for a smaller services dedicated to the elderly and disabled, and $36,800 for a vehicle replacement.

Sunflower is putting up some matching funds, County Clerk Donna Zimmerman told the commission said. However, all of those funds come from Sunflower fundraisers, transport fares and other services, not from public sources.

According to information from Sunflower’s Sarah Krom, Sunflower has been involved in public transportation for over 30 years. It currently operates a fleet of eight vehicles designated for public services.

These services are provided seven days a week in the hub area of Great Bend and five days weekly to all other county destinations, to meet the requests of our passengers. Sunflower provided 47,713  rides in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush, and Stafford Counties from July 2015 through June 2016 transporting workers, shoppers, and medical patients to and from their homes to chosen destinations within those five counties. 

The total mileage for those trips for all the vehicles was 300,215 at a cost of $416,152. Fare income direct from passenger’s covered only $88,153 of that.

Additionally Sunflower provides services to elderly and disabled clientele whose needs cannot be met through the GPT system. This utilizes two vehicles through a separate grant from KDOT and which provided 4,490 rides and traveled 18,671 miles.

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County commission: 

• Approved a contract with the engineering firm Kirkham Michael of Ellsworth. The firm submitted a proposal for required biennial bridge inspections. Work included under the proposal is routine and involves inspections completed following the “Local Bridge Inspection Contract Scope of Services” as described by the Kansas Department of Transportation Bureau of Local Projects. The cost under the contract is $87 per bridge for 370 bridges for a total of $32,590.

In addition to the bridges, there will be one new inventory inspection for the box culvert located three miles north of Beaver. This will add $400 to the project. Barry McManaman, County Engineer, will provide details.

In order to be considered a bridge for these inspections, a span must be at least 20 feet long.