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County upgrades sand dredge
Improvements will speed up mining operation
new deh county commission dredge pic web
Pictured is the countys sand dredge located south of Ellinwood. - photo by Tribune file photo

Nex-Tech to lease tower space from county


Under an agreement approved by the Barton County Commission Monday morning, Nex-Tech Wireless will lease space on the county-owned tower at Susank. 

Under the terms of the deal, which could extend up to 25 years, Nex-Tech would be allowed install antennas, grid dishes, remote radio units and other related equipment. For that, the county will be compensated at the rate of $750 per month ($9,000 per year), with 3 percent annual increases. 

County Administrator Richard Boeckman said the county only uses a small part of the tower for a radio repeater. So, the county doesn’t need the space Nex-Tech wants.

The county acquired the tower in 2007 at a cost of $8,000.

Nex-Tech Contracts and Purchasing Supervisor Richard Gaito told the commission the company wants to increase its coverage in the area. They hope to be up and running at the site by Aug. 1, which is when the lease will start.

In the meantime, Gaito said Nex-Tech is performing a structural review of the tower, which should be done this week.

“It’s nice once in a while to get a little additional revenue,” Commission Chairman Don Davis said.

 The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a plan to update of cable anchor system on the county’s sand dredge. 

A solution, which involves moving the cable anchor system, has been developed by county officials and the dredge’s manufacturer Custom Dredge Works of Topeka. The cost, $21,696, will be split between the county and CDW, Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips said.

In November, 2014, the commission approved the purchase of a cutterhead suction dredge from CDW for right at $600,000. The county took possession of the dredge and it was placed at the Ellinwood sand pit in October, 2015. 

Since that time, the cable anchor system has caused problems when the cables get tangled up in and chewed by the business end that mines the sand. Phillips said the cables have been cut or frayed several times.

The cost for each replacement cable is $1,000.

With the upgrade, Phillips said the operator won’t have to be as concerned about damaging the lines and will be able to work more efficiently. “We’ll be able to increase our daily production.” 

“This will save us money in the long run,” Commission Chairman Don Davis said.

Prior to the county mining its own sand, it paid $3.20 per ton for sand. When the dredge first went into operation, the cost to the county per ton was $3 and now, it is down to $1.10, Phillips said.

The anticipated pay-off of the machine was five years, but that could be shortened to as few as three, he said.