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Scenic overlook project advances
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The Kansas Department of Transportation informed Barton County Engineer Clark Rusco that the bid letting for the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area scenic overlook tower will be in August.
The tower and related paving work will tied together as one project, Rusco said.  This strategy will eliminate many of the scheduling conflicts caused by two prime contractors.
Information on the tower was part of County Administrator Richard Boeckman’s biweekly departmental update. Other highlights included:

County engineer
• Met with steel plate supplier representative to measure and view two stone bridges for possible rehab with steel plate liners. Liners have grouting ports for installation in the arches of each stone arch.
County staff members measured up a single arch and a double arch and it was obvious the Work Progress Administration bridge crews used the same arch forms for construction of single and double arches. The bridges we measured were Historic Bridge  8 and Historic Bridge 1. The steel plates will extend the life of each structure and each structure will not be as vulnerable to high stream flows such as occurred in 2007.
 • Met with KDOT for the countywide safety plan project. Barton County will be involved in the development of a county wide safety plan.
Four Kansas counties will begin this pilot program. The Safety Plan will identify safety issues and will be a good resource to identify projects for funding by the High Risk Rural Road (HRRR) Program. Various project scopes were discussed and a final scope will be chosen by KDOT.
• Bridge scour protection at many of the bridges will need to be addressed in the future. Bridge scour can occur during high stream flows at bridges that do not have adequate scour protection.
KDOT has recently provided bridge scour reports for each county in Kansas. Barton County has 30-plus bridges listed in its report. Rusco said the county will need to begin to address these scour issues.
The Federal Highway Administration and KDOT can require inspections every year for these structures. These structures are now inspected once every two years. Most of the bridges can be removed from the list after adequate scour protection has been installed.
“We will be working on a plan to address the scour issues for the structures identified in the report” he said. Three or four years will be needed to remove all of these structures from the list.

Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips
Road and Bridge
• Staff worked the snowstorm event on Saturday Feb. 28 spreading sand and salt along with minor snow plowing.
• Ditch Work was completed south of Olmitz on NW 90 Road.
• The Local Road and Bridge is being featured in the Local Technical Assistance Program newsletter for John Remmert’s work on mapping and GIS for signs and bridges.
Noxious Weed
• Interesting Statistic on weed directors longevity: Of the weed directors of Kansas that have more than 20 years of service, the total years of dedicated service adds up to (831) years . Phillips has 38 years as a kansas weed Director for Barton County. He is the senior years of service in the state at this time.

Communications Director Doug Hubbard
2015 February statistics
 911 landlines, 260
911 wireless, 675
Administrative lines, 7837
Total calls, 8772
Radio calls, 91,050
Calls for service, 2,528
Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock
• 669.65 tons of municipal solid waste
• 299 tons of construction/demolition waste
• 170.59 tons of special waste
• 378 loads of waste received for disposal
• $40,864.37 of revenue generated through disposal fees
• One load of mattresses was delivered to Hutchinson Correctional Facility for recycling.
• Approximately 10 pounds of household hazardous waste was collected.
County Appraiser Barb Esfeld
Personal property renditions were mailed out and were due back March 15. For the next 30 days personal property turned in will have a 5 percent late penalty applied. Oil and Gas renditions are due by April 1. If personal property renditions are mailed back after the due dates, penalties apply. While Barton County does not like to impose penalties we would be glad to assist any taxpayer in filing in a timely manner.
The office number is 620-793-1821, and residents can call for assistance.
Real Estate valuation notices were mailed Friday, March 13. Anyone wishing to appeal their valuation will have 30 days to schedule an informal appeal.

County Treasurer Kevin Wondra
The Treasurer’s Office processed a total of 1,555 motor vehicle transactions between Feb. 26 and March 11. The end of the renewal period for Commercial vehicles was incredibly busy. The State has been sending notice of suspension letters to any commercial fleets with pending renewals that have not been paid yet, so we have been getting a slow trickle of commercial customers in for that.
The office has been receiving quite a few payments for delinquent personal property and oil and gas taxes back after sending the reminder notices a couple weeks ago. It will be filing warrants once the abatements are complete.
The bookkeepers have been busy preparing the distribution. Bank reconciliations for the month of February are complete.