As this weekend’s temperature dip has demonstrated, winter can come to the Great Plains just about any time it wants to, from here on out.
This past week, however, county officials put on hold the decision on a piece of equipment that is being sought to improve snow removal around the county offices.
The discussion was about a large snow-blower, and it was tabled until it’s determined if the equipment could be provided through a local firm.
The snow-blower attachment is intended to make it more convenient for county workers and the public, alike, to get into the Barton County Courthouse during bad winter weather.
The Barton County Commission approved tabling the motion to spend $3,850 for a snow-blower attachment for one of the Noxious Weed Department’s all-terrain vehicles. It would allow the county staff to remove snow from around the courthouse — and other county buildings — with that, instead of using a blade, as they have in the past.
In addition to speeding up the process, Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips explained that the blower will be safer than a blade around the new decorative area on the west side of the courthouse.
He also explained that the county workers generally take care of the area leading into the courthouse because they can get to it more quickly than the city staff, though the property being cleared is, technically, city owned.
It had been suggested that the 48-inch blower be purchased from Maximum Outdoor Equipment, Wichita, but after that item was tabled, Phillips agreed to seek quotes from local vendors.
The item is on the county commission agenda for Monday, with the commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. in the courthouse.
In other equipment issues, the commissioners, by a split vote, approved the purchase of three 2011 Dodge Challengers for the Barton County Sheriff’s Office with a cost of $62,376 after trade-ins are deducted. The cars will be purchased from Marmie Motors.
Undersheriff Larry Holliday explained the Challengers are more comfortable and have proven to have fewer mechanical problems than some of the other vehicles that the department considered.
There was discussion regarding whether the department should purchase new cars or buy vehicles through the state surplus program, purchasing former Kansas Highway Patrol cars that are put into that sales program when they have approximately 50,000 miles on them.
Commissioners Kenny Schremmer, Homer Kruckenberg and Jennifer Schartz approved purchasing the new Challengers, while commissioners John Edmonds and Kirby Krier were opposed.
In addition to the purchase price, there will also be a cost of approximately $1,500 per vehicle for purchase and installation of special equipment.
The commissioners also approved the purchase of two used pneumatic rollers, at a cost of $68,154, from Van Keppel Co., Wichita, for the Road and Bridge Department to be used for various compaction projects. That cost will include the trade in of two rollers.
Also this past week, the commissioners approved spending $2,565 with Pohl’s Nursery for planting 49 red cedars and installing a drip irrigation system at Hillcrest Memorial Park, north of Great Bend.
The irrigation system will receive water from a mobile water tank, it was explained.