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Vandals take heavy toll on county
new deh county update sign pic
Pictured are a few of the signs damaged by vandals in Barton County.

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission, approved the Barton County Health Department’s annual Kansas Department of Health and Environment grant requests, totally at least $278,346.79. Health Director Shelly Schneider said the grants include:
• Child Care Licensing Program - $37,264.56
• Chronic Disease Risk Reduction - $55,218.05
• Family Planning - $51,015.82
• Immunization Action Plan - $5,629
• Maternal & Child Health - $62,926.28
• Pregnancy Maintenance Initiative (this is a new grant) - $12,294.04
• Public Health Emergency Preparedness - amount pending Kansas Department of Health and Environment notification
• State Formula - $18,816
• Teen Pregnancy Targeted Case Management (this is a new grant) - $35,183.04

Through the sign replacement program, Barton County Road and Bridge Department personnel responded to four emergency calls and replaced two vandalized signs in the past couple of weeks.
Sadly, Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips reported that sign vandalism is an on-going problem.
According to information given to the Barton County Commission Monday morning, of the 229 signs his department replaced in 2014, 147 had been vandalized. Also, 67 were replaced because of wind damage and 15 were replaced for other reasons.
So far in 2015, of the 53 replacement signs, 36 were intentionally damaged. There was also one destroyed by wind and 16 replaced for various other reasons.
Sign vandalism alone cost the county $42,000 last year. So far this year, the total is $10,699.
The sign information was part of County Administrator Richard Boeckman’s biweekly departmental update. Other highlights included:

Road and Bridge Department
• Staff worked on snow and ice issues the last week of the report period, keeping snow plows and sand spreaders active.
• Grading and drainage work conducted in the northeast part of the County.
• Culverts were replaced as needed. In other areas, both culverts and ditches were cleaned.
• Office staff spent time on gathering truck specifications and working on HVAC bids for replacement.
• Performed asphalt patching at the County office building.
Memorial Parks
• Concrete curbing was completed and roadways rocked in Hillcrest Memorial Park, Sections D, E and F.

County Appraiser Barb Esfeld
The Barton County Appraiser’s Office is in the process of establishing values for all real estate in the county. Values will be mailed Friday.
Personal property renditions have been mailed and are due March 15. Oil and gas renditions are due April 1. The Appraiser’s Office personnel would be glad to help with any questions regarding renditions. The office number is 620-793-1821.

Solid Waste Manager Phil Hathcock
• 806.42 tons of municipal solid waste
• 128 tons of construction/demolition waste
• 30.14 tons of special waste
• 445 loads of waste received for disposal
• $36,455.57 of revenue generated through disposal fees
During the reporting period:
• One load of mattresses was delivered to Hutchinson Correctional Facility for recycling.
• Approximately 28 pounds of household hazardous waste was collected.
• The landfill closed for two partial days due to high winds.

Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller
Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller recently attended “Kansas Exercise Design Course for Operations-Based Exercises.” Operations-based exercises represent the next level of exercises after discussion-based exercises. Operations-based exercises involve actual responses and reactions to a simulated emergency, Miller said.
The most common operations-based exercise is the functional exercise. Actual messages are developed to produce actions and reactions from the exercise’s players. These exercises require players to make decisions during a specified time period.
The messages most often are delivered to the players by phone or radio and are developed to test plans and procedures that are already in place, Miller said. “The simulations provide the opportunity for individuals and agencies to test their plans and procedures without actually deploying people and equipment.”
Class participants were able to design and develop a functional exercise as well as participate as a player. The exercises were then evaluated and After-Action Reports and Improvement Plans were developed.
Miller said exercises are an important part of an emergency management program. They provide an opportunity to discuss and evaluate plans and procedures as well as clarify roles and responsibilities, identify gaps in resources needed to respond to an emergency, and improve individual, department and agency performances.

County Treasurer Kevin Wondra
The Treasurer’s Office processed a total of 1,610 motor vehicle transactions between Feb. 12 and 25. Personnel have also processed commercial motor vehicle renewals. These were the last few days for commercial renewals before they are expired. Also, this is the first year the department is able to switch local and 6,000 mile tags to commercial, so some taxpayers have taken advantage of that.
Oil and Gas and Personal Property reminder notices are being mailed. Warrants will be mailed in two weeks.

Information Technology Director John Debes
• Health Department – Installed ethernet cable for permanent computer in the conference room. This is necessary for work related to the on-going whooping cough outbreak.
• Sheriff’s Office – Continued to load and repair Icop tapes. We have now replaced some equipment in patrol cars. Have also replaced three computers at the Detention Facility.
• Road and Bridge – Installed software on tablet to allow them to view pictures of head stones when they are out working in the cemeteries.
• Completed annual inventory, sent copies to the auditors and CIC for conversion to Fixed Assets.
• Researching panic button software for each desktop.
• Verified/Updated all PC’s that have access to TAS to enable them to access the new version.