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Future of Sheriffs Office building discussed
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In other business Monday, the County Commission:
• Adopted a proclamation marking April as Fair Housing Month. Fair housing laws provide Kansans the basic right to live in the homes of their choice and to raise their families without fear of discrimination based solely on their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religious belief, familial status or disability, Boeckman said. The county joins the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation as a partner in celebrating Fair Housing Month. For more information fair housing or the State’s Fair Housing Task Force, the public can visit  
• Adopted a proclamation marking April 1-7 as National Public Health Week. In a nation of 313,914,040 people, it is vital that efforts be put forth in assuring the health and safety of that number, said Health Director Lily Akings. “In doing so, public health officials undertake the responsibility of educating, serving and healing both the communities and individuals of our nation and our world. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, that’s what public health is all about.” Akings said the department was founded in 1927 and “we’ve come a long ways.”  The proclamation recognizes “the employees of the Barton County Health Department, along with the appointees to the Health Advisory Board and staff members of local doctors, dentists, hospitals and clinics for their commitment to improving the lives of Barton County citizens.”
• Approved a special-use permit requested by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation to construct a 180-foot communications tower on a tract of land just north and west of Galatia. On March 12, the Barton County Planning Commission held a public hearing to determine if the permit could be allowed, said Judy Goreham, county environmental manager. It was noted that the land is currently zoned as agricultural and that allows for such structures. The Planning Commission recommended the approval. 
• Approved filling positions on the Barton County Planning Commission. Reappointed were Mary Ann Stoskopf and James Welch, and named for the first time was Billie Jean Bonomo. These are uncompensated terms that end March 31, 2016. The four-member Planning Commission deals with  planning and zoning laws for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. The nine-member board has uncompensated three-year positions. Although all applicants must reside in Barton County, the majority of members must be from the unincorporated area.
• In late 2012, the commission approved the purchase of patrol vehicles and certain incidentals, to include the moving of electronic and other patrol equipment from the old units to the newly purchased ones. However, Sheriff Brian Bellendir  hired a local individual to move the equipment for $1,500, a lower cost than previously estimated $2,000. The commission approved a corrective action in reference to the moving of equipment.
• Heard an update on the activities of county departments from Boeckman.

The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved using $2,000 from the county’s Capital Improvement Funds to pay for repairs to the roof of the Barton County Sheriff’s Department Administrative Building.
The recent rain brought to the attention of the department that the roof was leaking on the upper and lower sections of the pitched portion. Dave’s Roofing Service of Great Bend was hired to fix the problem, and the action Monday just made the payment official.
 However, discussion of the leak brought about a broader discussion about the future of the structure, located at the corner of Broadway and Kansas. “It’s in really, really tough shape,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said.
She questioned the next 10 years of the office. “Are we throwing good money after bad? It’s one lightning strike away from devastation.”
Schartz wondered about the safety of BCSO personnel.
Built as a residence in 1905, the building also served as a funeral home for many years. The county purchased it in the early 1990s.
Sheriff Brian Bellendir said they have on-going problems with outdated electrical systems, plumbing and sewers. But, “it is structurally sound. The county has done a good job of maintaining it.”
None the less, officials may have to look at some major refurbishing in the next few years, such as new carpet and other interior repairs. But, there are portions of the building, namely the upstairs, that are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Bellendir stressed he wasn’t pushing for a new building. “It serves our purpose,” he said of the existing office.