By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Commission OKs asphalt plant repairs
Fixing machine much cheaper that replacing it
county asphalt plant
Shown is the Barton County Road and Bridge’s asphalt plant at the department’s site at Great Bend. The County Commission Wednesday morning approved repairs to the machine. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Wednesday morning:

• Approved the rebuilding of the county’s asphalt plant for the Road and Bridge Department.

• Approved a county counselor agreement with Patrick Hoffman.

For some time, Hoffman has provided Barton County with county counselor services. When originally contracted, Hoffman was at the law firm Sherman, Hoffman and Hoffman LC of Ellsworth. He has since started his own firm and requested the commission authorize service payment to Patrick Hoffman LLC. 

“He’s a valuable member of our team here,” said commission Chairman Shawn Hutchinson, District 3. “We work with him every day.”

“I enjoy working with you,” Hoffman said.

• Approved a video service agreement with Nex-Tech and Barton County.

Nex-Tech has submitted a video service agreement that calls for the county to receive a percentage of gross revenues, Operations Director Matt Patzner said. State law allows for a fee of up to 10%.

In what amounts to a franchise fee, the county will receive 5%. This is the same amount charged to other providers. 

Noting it is a savings to the county, the Barton County Commission Wednesday morning approved the rebuilding of the Road and Bridge Department’s asphalt plant.

County Works Director Darren Williams has established a plant repair project that includes the drum assembly replacement and plant overhaul. He told commissioners that parts within the drum are worn.

Asphalt plants, also called asphalt mixing plants or hot mix plants, are equipment that can combine aggregates and asphalt to produce mix for road paving. 

Asphalt Drum Mixers Inc. of Huntertown, Ind., provided a quote of $55,120 for the drum assembly. Additional costs will include freight, crane rental, electrical work and associated repair costs, Williams said.  

It was suggested that the project be approved at a “not to exceed” cost, with repair incidentals being tracked separately. This cost was $70,000.

The machine is portable and can be hauled between the county’s sandpit at Great Bend and the facility south of Ellinwood, Williams said. Although the county still has to rely on outside contractors like Venture Corporation of Great Bend to provide mix for large projects, this plant allows county crews to handle small, specialized work.

The cost of the repairs was questioned. But, Williams said the price of a new plant would be over $800,000.

“One thing that I really appreciate being part of Barton County for is that we have always been very proactive on keeping our machinery and equipment in good working order,” District 5 Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. “I know that this sounds like a lot of money, but in light of what we’ve just learned about how much a new plant will cost, it’s good use of taxpayer money.”