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Commission OKs permit allowing for cemetery expansion

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved the transfer of unexpended funds from 2015 to the capital improvement fund ($405,000) and equipment replacement fund ($685,000). This is an annual practice, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. 

The county budgets revenue low and expenditures high, creating the surplus which can be tapped to cover unexpected expenses. The county has no debt, and this is the reason,he said. 

• Signed of the annual inventory of county property. According to state statute, each department shall make an inventory of the county-owned property. The inventory, which shall be taken in December, shall be filed with the county clerk on or before Dec. 31. The inventory excludes books, records, files, stationery, writing materials and blank legal papers. 

The information is presented to the commission during February. 

• Approved the replacement of two mowing tractors for the Road and Bridge Department from Straub International of Great Bend. The department is currently operating three mowing tractors to maintain 800 miles of ditches. Of those units, two are 1998 John Deere 7610-AWD tractors with over 10,000 hours of use each. Given that, replacements were sought of a like model, with warranty and the trade-in. After reviewing bids, Phillips suggested that a $191,600 bid for two Case IH Maxxum (2016) units be purchased from Straub. With an $80,000 trade, the price difference is $111,600.  

• Approved an agreement with the Kansas Secretary of Transportation to treat noxious weeds on KDOT rights-of-way. Included in the contract is a price of $24 per hour for operator and $35 per hour for the spray vehicles. The state provides the chemicals.

• Approved renewing the county membership in the Kansas County Commissioners Association at a cost of $700. Tied closely to the Kansas Association of Counties, this organization is comprised of the commissioners serving the 105 countiess. Education, training, partnering and seeking strategic alliances that benefit the interests of County government and its citizens are its core goals. The Commission will determine if they will retain membership in the Association.

 The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved special use permit allowing Holy Family Catholic Church in Odin to expand its cemetery.

On Feb. 9, the Barton County Planning Commission held a public hearing to determine if a three-acre tract of land located in Odin  could be permitted under conditional use for the expansion of the existing cemetery, said Zoning Administrator Judy Goreham. Church officials had submitted the request.

It was noted that the land, which is located directly south of the existing church and cemetery at 1387 NE 90 Avenue, is currently zoned as agricultural. This designation allows for the church to expand the existing cemetery south onto the recently donated plot as a conditional use. 

The Planning Commission unanimously recommended the change be approved, Goreham said. In fact, community residents who were at the Planning Commission meeting supported the idea.

“It’s a tight-knit community,” Goreham said. “They want to bury their loved ones near their loved ones.”

Goreham said statutes also require that any new cemetery development must be at least 50 feet from existing residential structures. In this case, church officials plan to exceed that requirement.

However, before any new plots can be sold, the land must be replatted to accommodate the change. This is in the works.

The ground was donated to the church three years ago. Technically, it belongs to the Dodge City Diocese, however, maintenance of the cemetery is handled by a local board.

As a side note, the land was zoned for agricultural use. Had a change been sought for a residential project, the tract would have had to be five acres, but for this use, three was sufficient.