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County departments keep hopping
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Barton County Administrator Richard Boeckman offered his biweekly update on the activities of various county departments during the County Commission meeting Monday morning. Highlights included:

County Engineer Clark Rusco
• Prepared contracts for the Chicago-based engineering firm Lochner (which has an office in Salina) for work on the Ellinwood Bridge over the Arkansas River. Lochner will begin the project design documents soon. Depending on availability of materials for the expansion devices, the bridge repairs could be completed before June harvest begins.
• Attended, by conference call, a Kansas Strategic Highway Safety Plan-Local Roads Engineering meeting with Kansas Department of Transportation and federal highway officials. KDOT is working on programs to supply summary accident reports by location to local agencies. Accident reports will be used to identify high accident locations and can help determine what countermeasures could be applied to improve roadway safety.
• Submitted grant application for the High-risk Rural Roads program from KDOT. The grant application is for the required replacement of regulatory and warning signs for several corridors in Barton County. The grant application was sent in Wednesday requesting $207,000 for signage, engineering and construction services.
• Prepared contracts for the Biennial Bridge inspections required by KDOT. Kirkham Michael will begin the inspections within a few weeks. The project will take about two months to complete all of the tasks and submit the data to KDOT.
 • Placed traffic counting equipment on SE 20 Road between Washington and US 281 Highway. The traffic counting equipment is on loan from Kansas LTAP.
• Met with KDOT and Venture for a haul road inspection for the road east of Cheyenne Bottoms.
• Participated in a conference call with TranSystems and KDOT concerning the High Risk Rural Road grant for box extensions on bridges. TranSystems will begin the safety analysis program for all of the structures in the three corridors. The program will determine the most cost effective method to improve the safety along the three corridors. The next phase of the project will be to prepare the final plans and specs for submittal to KDOT.
Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips
 Road and Bridge
• All retro-reflective high-intensity stop signs and new 911 locator address sign have been installed as required over the entire county.
• Personnel are replacing and\or repairing bridge marker signs throughout the County.
• Mowing staff completed mowing operations in southwest Barton County and installed, replaced or repaired culvert markers at all locations within the County.
Since Jan. 1, the sign staff has:
• Installed 469 signs.
• Replaced or repaired 52 vandalized signs.
• Bridge and grading crews completed four culvert projects, repaired three blacktop road crossover pipes, completed four bridge clean outs or repairs and repaired one small bridge in near Galatia, including repairing hub guards on two small bridges on County blacktop roads.
• The edge drop-offs were repaired on the Boyd Road curves.
• Shoulder and Ditch work southeast of Ellinwood was started to correct drainage and repair old culverts.
• Performed winter weather duties and maintained slick roads as needed.
Noxious Weed
• Completed preparations for the upcoming 75th weed conference.
• Completed inventory requirements and completed State reporting requirements.
• Assisted Road and Bridge on various projects and prepared for the upcoming spray schedule by applying herbicide to bridge rail and sign post locations to prevent weed and grass encroachment.
Memorial Parks
• Staff worked at the Memorial Parks marking several graves and marking for memorial markers.

911 Director Doug Hubbard
January 2013 statistics:
 911 landline calls - 376
911 wireless calls - 845
Administrative calls - 8,567
Total calls - 9,788
 Calls for service - 3,071

County Appraiser
 Barbara Konrade
The Barton County Appraiser’s Office is in the process of establishing values for all real estate in the county. Dry crop and irrigated crop acre values have increased for 2013 due to the past eight years of yields and expenses. Values will be mailed out by April 1.
Personal property renditions were mailed out and are due back March 15; April 1 for oil and gas renditions. Statute KS-79-332a requires that penalties be applied to renditions that are filed late. The Appraiser’s Office personnel do not like to apply penalties; therefore they would be glad to help with any questions or concerns one may have. The office number is 620-793-1821.

Information Technology
Director John Debes
• Continue to monitor the TTC, exchange servers and sonic wall fire wall. During this period, the combination stopped 4,248 SPAM messages, 22 viruses, 19 intrusion and four spyware attempts.
• Activated part of the new state requirements for oil and gas renditions. Work continues in meeting all new state requirements.
• With the start of the 2012 audit, preparing reports as requested.
• Time is being spent on various issues at the Sheriff’s Office. Corrections have been made on both printing and validation issues. New computers are being installed to replace dated equipment.
• Assisted the Treasurer’s Office with first half personal property notices.