Fireworks a go in Barton County
The Barton County Commission Monday morning assured residents that there is no ban on fireworks for the upcoming Fourth of July celebration. It was a year ago that a county-wide burn bans forced such an action.
In other July 4 news, county business offices, the Health Department and the Records Division of the Sheriff’s Office will be closed for the Independence Day Holiday on Thursday. The Landfill will also be closed that day.
Emergency services will be in normal operation on that day.
Barton County is required by the state to have funds set aside to close the county’s landfill in the event of an emergency or at the projected end of its lifespan in 20-some years.
However, Solid Waste Manager Mark Witt told the County Commission Monday morning, the estimated cost of that closure has gone up, thanks to new regulations issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Waste Management.
“We have to plan for the future,” Witt said. “Our hands are tied.”
So, he requested and the Commission approved an increase in municipal- and construction-waste tipping fees at the facility. This marked the first hike in seven years.
Municipal fees (those charged to commercial companies that haul household trash) will go up from $34 per ton to $38. Construction fees will go from $25 to $32.
This could increase monthly trash service prices for county residents $2-3. But, Witt said, that is purely an estimate.
The landfill is supported solely by user fees and receives to tax money. These fees feed the Solid Waste Management Fund, which as seen some depletion due to assorted costs of doing business.
But, Witt said state health officials don’t care about the local issues. They just want to make sure the county can return the landfill to usable condition after it closes, and monitor and maintain it for 30 years after closure when there is no revenue being generated.
Due to new rules from KDHE, the “estimated closure and post-closure cost” has increased by $1 million to $5 million. Of that, $2.3 million will go for shutting it down and $3.2 million be for on-going maintenance.
Based on 2012 tonnage amounts, Witt figures the increase will bring in about $144,000 more per year. The new fees will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Increases in recycling efforts have also cut into the landfill’s revenue.
Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg questioned size of the increase. He recommended a smaller raise in fees now and, should it be necessary down the road, revisiting the matter.
But, Commission Chairman Don Cates said that by the time the funds are banked for the closure, a smaller increase wouldn’t leave the landfill much to work with for other expenses.
Besides, it is more economical for the companies involved to make adjustments once for billing instead of having to do so now and again later.
Kruckenberg was the only commissioner to vote against the plan.
In other business Monday, the Commission:
• Authorized submission of the grant along with the Family Crisis Center. Barton County is the lead applicant. The Family Crisis Center is partnering with the county on a grant application for the Housing and Urban Development Emergency Solutions Grant for $65,238. If approved, grant funding, which would pass through Barton County, would be used for both FCC full-time case management advocate and shelter costs, to include repair and operation, said Laura Patzner, FCC executive director. The grant is renewable
• Approved a bid for $34,204 from Millers of Claflin for the replacement of carpeting at the Barton County Office Building, 1806 12th, Great Bend. This project was identified in the 2013 Capital Improvement Plan, said County Administrator Richard Boeckman. Over the next two years, carpeting will be replaced in other county facilities.
• Heard an update from Memorial Parks Advisory Committee Chairman Larry Buczinski on the effort to build a veterans memorial at Golden Belt Memorial Park north of Great Bend. The committee held a fundraising barbecue June 15 and raised $1,162. They have now raised $3,314 of their $55,000 goal. They are next planning a patriotic music event for Aug. 24 at the Crest Theater in Great Bend. More information will be announced later.