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County to seek landfill oil-drilling bids


There may be oil wells in the Barton County Landfill’s future after action by the County Commission Monday morning.
The commission authorized County Administrator Richard Boeckman to send out a request for proposal to oil producers who routinely operate in the area with a deadline of Jan. 15. Information will also be advertised and posted on the county website.
Boeckman said had approached him about drilling at the facility. He visited with Landfill Director Mark Witt, and two have been in contact with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
State law does allow for such activity, but there are stipulations, Boeckman said. It must go through a competitive bidding process, and any plan must  be reviewed by the KDHE to make sure it won’t interfere with landfill operations.
The RFP will ask for what royalties and bonuses will be paid to the county, as well as where the proposed lease would be located.
In all, the landfill covers 344.7 acres. But, the area being considered for drilling is the norther portion, about 120.7 acres, that is not used as a landfill and is mostly grass.
The request gives the county quite a bit of latitude, Boeckman said. “We don’t have to accept any bid.”
But, if drilling was successful, any money the county would make would go into the general fund.

It should become easier to located offices in the Barton County Courthouse.
The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved the purchase and installation of an electronic directory for the courthouse rotunda. The $2,715 digital touch-screen directory will come from Electronic Directory Corporation of Chicago, Ill.
The flat directory will hang on the south wall of the first-floor rotunda between the entrances to the men’s and women’s restrooms. It will display all the offices and their locations, office holders, weather and rotating messages (such as tax information or updates on vehicle tags).
“This has the ability to give more information,” County Administrator Richard Boeckman said.
The project has been in the works for about year. The county’s Employee Relations Committee set out to find a replacement for the age-worn directory kiosk that sat in the center of the rotunda.
However, “it was hard to replace,” Boeckman said. Similar displays would cost over $5,000.
So, the ERC asked Boeckman to help. He started looking into the digital devices.
Commission Chairman Don Cates liked the idea, but wished the new directory could be out in the middle of the current one is located. It may take some getting used to.
The new display will be up and running in the near future.
In other business, the commission:
 • Authorized the county’s involvement with a Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for Claflin though an interlocal agreement with the city. The plan provides tax rebates for qualified new improvements with the county performing the administrative tax functions from 2013-2015, said Claflin City Attorney Bob Suelter.
The plan includes most of Claflin, but by state law, cannot include all of it, Suelter said. It can also legally only incorporate areas within the city limits.
The rebates will be 95 percent in the first year and go down from there.
It was asked about the three-mile extra-territorial area surrounding the city. This area is outside the city limits, but subject to city zoning regulations.
Suelter said by law the plans can only include areas within the city.
There are similar programs that a county can utilize, Boeckman said. But, there are requirements, such as a certain level of blight, and any action would require commission approval.
• Approved issuing a request from the public as to who wants to be on the list to be notified of County Commission meetings. Done annually, the list must be submitted to the commission prior to the commencement of a fiscal year. Those wishing to be on the list must do so via written notification.
• Renewed occupancy agreements with the Kansas State University\Barton County Extension Council and the State of Kansas Parole Office that are housed in the Barton County Office Building at 12th and Kansas in Great Bend. The proposed agreements, set to expire December 31, 2014, allow each agency office space, as well as use of the county’s phone and long distance services and central office supply. Each agency has a separate agreement for the provided space and services.
Boeckman said the county does not charge any rent, but the entities do pay their share of the utility costs.
• Accepted a $128,854.90 bid from Welborn Sales of Salina for over 150 culverts of various sizes. Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillip said many culverts in the county were damaged in flooding that took place in July and August. Many have already been replaced, but there are still 26 yet to be handled. This work had depleted the county’s inventory.
• Heard a report on county departmental activities from Boeckman.