EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s been a busy year for Barton County Departments. This is the first of two stories based on County Administrator Richard Boeckman’s year-end wrap-up he gave at the County Commission meeting Monday morning.
As the first major winter storm of the season rolled through the Golden Belt, it was deja vu all over again.
In her year-end report to the Barton County Commission, Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller said Barton County had two weather related incidents during 2013 that resulted in the county being included in two Presidential Disaster Declarations.
In February, a snowstorm created travel problems across the county and damages qualified Barton County, townships, cities and school districts for federal assistance for snow assistance. In August of 2013, storms brought heavy rains that caused flooding across the County.
The rains caused problems for the county and townships by flooding and washing out roads, scouring bridges and culverts and leaving behind mounds of debris. The county and townships will be meeting with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2014 to develop projects to repair the damages.
With county crews pressed into service to clear the roadways this past weekend, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said Miller may apply for a disaster declaration after this most recent weather.
Miller also reported :
• An update of the Barton County Local Emergency Operations Plan was completed during 2013. A Local Emergency Operations Plan is based upon a risk analysis and provides planning considerations for specific functions, hazards and threats. Upon formal review with the commissioners, it is anticipated that the plan will be formally adopted.
• Barton County applies every year to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management for Emergency Management Performance Grant funds. For FY 2013, Barton County was awarded $24,005 in EMPG funds.
One of the requirements for the EMPG funding is that a county must have an established local exercise program to test the capability to implement the Emergency Operations Plan. Counties must conduct two d operations-based exercises per year, submit an report and improvement plan. During FY 2013, Barton County Emergency Management participated in five exercises with scenarios based on tornado and severe weather, hostage situations and riots and transportation incidents.
• The Barton County Local Emergency Planning Committee, sponsored by Barton County Emergency Management, met quarterly during 2013 and provided guidance on emergency planning issues throughout the year. The committee also updated its bylaws and public information access procedures.
911 Director Doug Hubbard
• During 2013, dispatch operators averaged 1,400 calls on 911 lines, 10,000 administrative calls and dispatched nearly 3,200 calls for service while handling over 100,000 radio transmissions each month.
• In early May, dispatchers participated in the Barton Community College’s annual “Field Ops” day. They dispatched scripted calls for students in several departments at BCC including Emergency Medical and Fire Services, Criminal Justice and the Nursing program. In July, crews were on hand at the Barton County Fair dispatching remotely from the “Fire Safety” trailer.
• In late, July a farm implement damaged the 911 radio tower north of the US 56/K 156 junction causing it to topple. That tower held the primary law enforcement frequency for the County and a tactical channel used for operations on mainly Fire and EMS calls. The entire site was destroyed and the rebuild continues. The contract was let early in November, work began by Thanksgiving and it is expected that the project will be completed late in January, 2014.
• 2014 will bring continued emphasis on training, along with completion of the Doonan Tower replacement project. Communications looks forward to getting the two frequencies back on line at that location.
County Appraiser Barb Konrade
• In the summer, the Appraiser’s Office field staff measured, listed and took pictures of 17 percent of the parcels in the County. Each year, data on 17 percent of the parcels are re-collected pursuant to state statue. Barton County consists of approximately 18,000 parcels of real estate, 1,400 Oil and Gas leases and 3,890 personal property renditions.
• The Appraiser’s Office continues to make enhancements to the Orion system. Along with emailing property records, photos have been taken on most properties and are attached to the cards. This year, maps of the properties are available in the Orion system. This helps serve the taxpayers by being able to view a map and answer questions without sending the taxpayer to the Mapping division.
• The ORKA site – Open Records for Kansas Appraisers – is also available. This site was provided to the county at no cost from the Kansas Property Valuation Division. The site offers data on-line about the property characteristics, ownership data, maps and more on all parcels located in Barton County. A viewer can click on the parcel search on Barton County’s web page or click on ORKA on the Appraiser’s module within the site. This allows users to access open records at any time, rather than calling only during office hours. Current users have expressed their satisfaction with the site.
• During 2013 the County developed a new web-site, www.bartoncounty.org. This site contains information about all county offices and gave the appraiser’s office the ability to put information, forms, instructions and other pertinent data to assist taxpayers. This site also contains a link to property data within the ORKA site.
• On Jan. 7, 2013, the Barton County Appraiser’s Office mailed Personal Property and Oil and Gas renditions. Real Estate values were mailed on April 1, 2013. The Appraiser’s Office held approximately 160 informal meetings to discuss real estate valuations.
Information Technology Director John Debes
• Worked with the new countywide bookkeeping software CIC and all departments on the conversion from in-house applications for bookkeeper, accounts payable, general ledger, payroll and tax administration. This required the creation of a number of reports so CIC could balance information.
• Installed new phones, voice mail system and phone switch in the Health Department and Courthouse.
• The IT Department is now the information manager for the Sheriff’s Office. Computers, switches and servers have all been updated. With limited funds available, most equipment that is used from other offices. Also updated as the jail management software was so out of date it would not communicate with 911’s dispatch software.
• As has been reported, the Sheriff’s Office was hit with polymorphing ransomware earlier this year. This particular malware arrived via an attachment on an email.
County Clerk Donna Zimmerman
• Total KDWP Licenses and Permits: 268
• Total Cereal Malt Beverage Licenses: 11
• Total Drinking Establishment Licenses: 3
• Deeds worked: 1,528
• Probates worked : 64
• Death Certificates worked: 92
• Divorces worked: 51
• Minerals Worked 183
• Total of Tax abstracts processed for 2013 Tax Rolls: 15
• Number of 2012 tax roll adjustments processed: 166-Abates /166-Refunds
• Special Assessments added: 78
• Budgets reviewed and audited: 7 Special Districts, 9 Cities, 22 Townships, 3 School Districts and 4 Recreation Commissions.
• Audited 22 township reports
• There were 51 sets of Commission Minutes in 2013 and two sets of minutes for the Claflin Fire District Number 1.
• Address changes/name changes/party changes/polling place changes, new registrants: Total 1,094 Combined 1,325.
• Money spent thru A/P: Election $46,868.09.
• There were 2,843 ballots processed in City Election April 2, 2013, with a special question for the creation of a recreation commission in Ellinwood/USD 355.
• In April, the County Clerk’s Office had a City/School/College/Hospital District Election, which also included a special question for the creation of a Recreation Commission in Ellinwood/USD 355. Total voters participating in the election was 2,843 which was a 16.42 percent voter turnout.
• Work began in April to convert to a new CIC software program for cash receipting, budgetary, accounts payable and tax administration. This large endeavor required numerous and on-going training sessions, new account codes, and a whole new method for data management. Employees attended a software Symposium in Wichita to learn more about the new software and to offer ideas for software enhancements.
• The Records Department was consolidated into the County Clerk’s Office in July. One employee was transferred as a result and will now manage records as well as performing other County Clerk/Election duties.
Health Director Lily Akings
The two numbers are for 2012 and 2013
Total Clinic Visits: 6,387, 6,238
Immunizations: 3,413, 3,460
Family-planning contacts: 826, 700
Sexually transmitted disease: 259, 276
Tuberculosis: 539, 527
Child care licensing: 78, 119
Maternal and Infant: 475, 419
Healthy start home visitor: 333, 279
Communicable disease: 78, 63