In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:
• Approved a proclamation at the request of 911 Director Doug Hubbard designating this as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. In part, the proclamation honors public safety communications officers for their “vital role in protecting the life and property of Barton County citizens.”
Commonly known as dispatchers, these officers “spend countless hours to help save lives,” Hubbard said. From helping to catch criminals to helping to fight fires to helping those in need of emergency services, these professionals often go unrecognized for their behind-the-scenes efforts.
• Approved a bid of $7.23 per ton from Venture Corporation for the 2014 asphalt mix program. The bid specified approximately 20,000 to 25,000 tons of cold mix asphalt material, with the county furnishing all aggregate and asphalt oil. Using County specifications, the contractor will be required to mix asphalt at the county pit on South Washington, Great Bend, said Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips.
With what the county adds to the mix, the total cost for the asphalt is $53.87 per ton for a total of over $1 million for the purchased tonnage. Work will begin on the mixing in May.
Barton County has the third most asphalt roads in the state with almost 400 miles. With half the staff of larger counties, Phillips said they look at new innovations in paving technology, but have to balance longevity, quality and cost.
• Approved the purchase of a AFF Model 854SD, 50-ton super duty shop press from Welborn Sales of Salina for $2,750. The Road and Bridge Department accepted quotes for the replacement of a hydraulic press that was manufactured in 1941. The new press meets performance requirements and will be safer to operate, Phillips said.
The old press will be sold “as is” at a public auction.
• Approved the purchase of two Chevy Silverado pickups from Dove Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac of Great Bend for the Road and Bridge Department for a total cost of $57,758. These replace a 1995 Chevy 2500 pickup and a 1997 Ford F250, both having excessive mileage and maintenance expenses. In addition, the cost of outfitting both vehicles with pickup flatbeds was also bid, and BS Trailer Sales of Dodge City was selected for this at a cost of $10,900.
The old trucks will be sold at a public auction.
• Heard a departmental update from County Administrator Richard Boeckman.
Last August, some areas of Barton County experienced severe flooding. The cost of dealing with those storms was high, prompting county officials to apply for a federal disaster declaration to help clean up the soggy aftermath.
That application is finally baring fruit, Emergency Management Director Amy Miller told the County Commission Monday morning. Federal Emergency Management Agency funds will help reimburse the county.
The federal assistance will cover 75 percent of the cost for labor hours, and equipment and supplies used. It will be divided into two categories – debris removal and protective measures.
As for the debris, this includes limbs and other items deposited by the flood. There will be $70,942 awarded to the Road and Bridge Department for this, Miller said.
Protective measures involved the use of sandbags, barricades and the pumping of excess water out of the Barton County Landfill. The $5,743 available in this area will be split between the Road and Bridge and the landfill.
Miller said the FEMA money will cover 75 percent of the county’s storm-related expenses. State agencies are kicking in another 10 percent.
Ultimately, the county only has to pay for 15 percent of the storm’s cost, Miller said.
“This was not the smoothest disaster application,” Miller said. The federal government shutdown and changes in the application process delayed any action on the county’s request until October of last year.
However, Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips said the local, state and federal agencies involved worked well together. Despite the delays, there was a great spirit of cooperation.
Phillips also commended his experience staff for their efforts. “We are fortunate in Barton County that we are trusted by the state for the records we keep,” he said.
These reports are complete and accurate, making applying for a disaster declaration easier.
The work had to get done anyway, with or without any assistance, Phillips said. But the reimbursement from the feds makes the situation a lot easier.
Commissioners thanked Miller and Phillips for their persistence in pursuing the declaration.