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Agreement a sign of improvement
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Commission to discuss concealed gun ban


On the Barton County Commission agenda next Monday will be an application for an extension to the county’s concealed weapon exemption which prohibits concealed weapons from being brought into the courthouse or other county building.
House Bill 2052, signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback this legislative session, authorizes the carrying of concealed weapons in state and municipal buildings. This would supersede the county’s current ban, said County Administrator Richard Boeckman.
The statute goes into effect July 1. If no action is taken, Boeckman said concealed weapons must be allowed on county property.
However, the commission can get a sixth-month extension to the current ban. “This would buy us time to study the issue,” he said.
Come January, when the extension expires, Boeckman said the law would let the county keep the ban, under one condition. The county would have to develop a security plan on how to keep out the firearms and protect occupants of county buildings in order to receive a four-year exemption.
“This would be expensive,” Boeckman said. The extension will allow officials to look at these costs.
The League of Kansas Municipalities offers a brief synopsis of the statute on its website. In this, it notes that these security plans could include metal detectors, or wands and personnel to operate them at each entrance.
This is a topic that might generate public interest and input, Boeckman said.

An engineering agreement approved by the Barton County Commission Monday mornings helps pave the way to better signs on major rural county blacktops.
The commissioners voted hire Kirkham Michael and Associates of Ellsworth to handle the engineering services for High Risk Rural Road Program  regulatory and warning sign replacement. There are nearly 400 miles of asphalt roads in the county, but this $4,000 agreement only covers the more heavily traveled key corridors, said County Engineer Clark Rusco.
“This will bring the signs up to the newer standards” with improved reflectivity, Rusco told the Commission. The total cost for the work will be $207,000, which will be covered 100 percent by a HRRR grant through the Kansas Department of Transportation.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, the HRRR is a federal program. The funds used to pay for the signs comes in the form of  funds from the feds administered through KDOT.
The state is paying for the signs and county Road and Bridge Department crews will install them. However, regulations require the engineering to be done by a third party, and this is where Kirkham Michaels comes into the picture.
“We’re kind of fortunate to get these funds,” Rusco said. “It’s a major project.”
The HRRR Program is a national one, so there are a lot of counties vying for the limited money allocated.
In other business Monday, the Commission:
• Approved the purchase of a 2013 Dodge Caravan SXT, or like vehicle, from Dove’s Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac at a cost of $18,700 for the Juvenile Services Department. Mike Daniel, assistant director, said the current 2006 Chevrolet Uplander has 145,000 miles, so the agency sought bids for dealers in the county. Marmie Motors of Great Bend, Doonan GMC of Great Bend and Manwhiler Chevrolet of Hoisington also submitted bids.
• County Administrator Richard Boeckman offered an update on the activities of county departments.