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Safety returns dividends to county
new deh county commission pic
Cody Smith of the Alliance Insurance Group, right, presents an insurance dividend check to Barton County Commission Chairman Don Cates Monday morning. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

  In regards to the safety of Barton County employees, the County Commission Monday morning received good news for the fifth year in a row.
Cody Smith of the Alliance Insurance Group, presented a $24,589 dividend return check as a result of the county’s participation in the Kansas County Safety Dividend Group with EMC Insurance Companies. Last year, the check was for over $20,000 and the five-year total is over $112,000.
Smith said this is a tribute to the county’s stepped up efforts to check the fitness levels of new employees and other safety measures.
This also accounts for about 10 percent of the county’s total insurance premium.
County Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller coordinated delivery of the check. As part of her duties, Miller is charged with oversight of the county’s liability and other insurances.  
Miller said EMC Insurance provides property and casualty insurance coverage, and upon request, will provide loss control services such as safety inspections and defensive driving classes for employees.  Kansas counties insured with EMC are also a part of the Kansas County Safety Dividend Group.   
The policy dividend is based upon the group experience as a whole, not each individual county’s experience.  This will be the fifth year in a row that Barton County received a dividend.
The total amount refunded in this statewide pool of counties was $900,000. Barton County made up 2.47 percent of that total.
In a related matter, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said the county’s MOD rate is .74,  which is unheard of for counties.
A MOD rating, or experience modification factor, is a multiplier taken times 100 percent and applied to the premium of a qualifying policy. The MOD number is based on an entity’s loss experience, and as a result, one will pay a higher or lower percentage of the standard premium.
For example, Barton County’s rate of .74 means it will pay 74 percent of the standard premium rate. CThe better the MOD, the lower your premium.
In other business Monday, the commission:
• Approved repairs to the main access roads at the Barton County Landfill. The work will be done by Venture Corporation for $176,028. Due to the amount and weight of customer vehicle traffic at the landfill, the road from the scale house to the Subtitle D Landfill is in need of the repair, said Solid Waste Manager Mark Witt.
Work includes a section of road from the north end of the truck scale to the entrance gate, from the entrance gate approximately 1,200 feet east, the entrance and parking lot and the east access road leading to near the equipment storage building.  
Venture will use hot-mix asphalt that will be thicker at the curves where the heavy trucks do the most damage.
The landfill is completely supported by user fees so no tax funds will be required. The facility has experienced higher than anticipated revenue and lower than anticipated expenses of late.
• Approved the placement stop signs at Kiowa Road and Second Street in Great Bend Township. Stop signs are needed at the offset intersection and will be placed so traffic arriving from the east and west on Second Street must stop for north and south bound traffic. The project will cost about $300.
• Approved the purchase of a train car tank culvert from The Rail Yard for $13,995 at the request of the Road and Bridge Department as part of a culvert replacement project. It will feature headwalls. As there was only one culvert left in the vendor’s stock, the purchase was made under the authority of the county administrator. The commission was just asked to ratify the purchase.
• Cast a ballot for Richard Malm, Jefferson County Commissioner, as the  Kansas representative to the Governing Board of the National Association of Counties. Through the Kansas Association of Counties, Barton County is eligible to vote for one candidate.
 • Named Jennifer Schartz as the voting delegate and Kenny Schremmer and Homer Kruckenberg as the first and second alternate delegates to the Kansas Association of Counties annual conference that opens Oct. 19 in Wichita.
• Heard a report on the activities of county departments from County Administrator Richard Boeckman.