Barton County Commission at a glance
Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Wednesday morning:
• Ratified repairs to a pickup for the Road and Bridge Department.
County Works Director Darren Williams initiated the repair of a 2008 Ford F-350 at Bob’s Service Center of Claflin. The total cost for repairs was $5,715.89.
• Approved the replacement of the deck for a bridge on NE 70 Road, west of NE 150 Avenue and crossing Cow Creek.
Bids were opened on Nov. 14 for the replacement of the failing bridge deck on Off-System Bridge 297, said Operations Director Matt Patzner.
Two bids were received, with L&M Contractors Inc. of Great Bend having the low bid of $168,697.50.
“This is a good bid,” said District 1 Commissioner Kirby Krier. The other bid was $30,000 higher.
This is one of two metal bridges built by county employees and it sees a lot of traffic, Krier said. People had reported holes in the deck and County Engineer Barry McManaman concurred that it needed to be replaced.
• Appointed Claflin’s Dr. Patrick Stiles to the remainder of the 2023–2026 term as 20th Judicial District coroner.
In accordance with the Kansas statutes, county commissioners of the county with the largest population in a judicial district is to appoint a district coroner to serve a four-year term.
Stiles is assisted by several deputy county coroners.
• Tabled an occupancy agreement with the State of Kansas Parole office which is housed in the county office building at 1208 Kansas, Great Bend.
As a means of community support, office is housed at that location rent free and the agency reimburses Barton County for a portion of the building’s utility costs, said Operations Director Matt Patzner. The agreement is set to expire Dec. 31, 2023.
• Held a discussion on the county’s membership in the Kansas Natural Resources Coalition, a lobbying organization pushing for preserving natural resources. The county joined last year at a cost of $5,000, and commissioners are wondering if it is worth renewing.
District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld is attending a KNRC meeting Friday in Dodge City and will report back to the commission.
An occupancy agreement with the State of Kansas Parole office to operate rent free in the county office building at 1208 Kansas was tabled by the Barton County Commission Wednesday morning. Commissioners wanted to take a closer look at the long-standing arrangement.
“As a means of community support, the office is housed at that location. The agency reimburses Barton County for phones and a portion of the building’s utility costs,” said Operations Director Matt Patzner. The agreement is set to expire Dec. 31, 2023.
He was asking the commission to renew the agreement or ask the Parole Office to vacate the building.
“Wow, you left us with a bombshell,” said commission Chairman Shawn Hutchinson, District 4.
“So, is it unusual that they paid no rent?” said District 1 Commissioner Kirby Krier.
“In our situation, no because that’s just kind of how it’s been in terms of other counties that operate this way,” Patzner said. “I know this agreement has been in place for quite some time.”
Although the Parole Office works in conjunction with the 20th Judicial District (courts, Community Corrections and Juvenile Justice Authority), it is actually a part of the Kansas Department of Corrections and deals with those released from prison.
Community Corrections and Juvenile Services are considered county employees. The Parole Office staff is employed by the state, Patzner said.
“How much of an area do they occupy?” said District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld.
“I need I need to get these answers for you,” Patzner said.
The renewal comes at a time when the commissioners are looking for alternative temporary digs next year as the Courthouse’s HVAC system is being replaced.
“I’d be in favor of looking into this a little more,” Hutchinson said. “Because we have a lot of projects coming up where we need as much space as we can get. I’m not saying this isn’t important,” but it is worth a little more discussion first.