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Commissioners OK bid on Ferguson Road bridge

The Oskaloosa Independent of Oskaloosa, Kansas

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The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners Monday afternoon voted 3-0 to accept a bid from King Construction Company Inc., Hesston, on replacing the concrete bridge along Ferguson Road, that spans Little Wild Horse Creek.

The bid in the amount of $563,000 was officially presented to Commissioners Richard Malm, Lynn Luck and Wayne Ledbetter by Public Works Director Bill Noll. According to the timeline he made available to the paper, dirt work (i.e., grading) at the site will begin the day after Labor Day, and the entire project should be finished by the middle of December.

On another unanimous vote, the board authorized Noll to sign a contract with McAfee Henderson Solutions Inc., Oskaloosa, whereby the firm will be providing engineering services to include surveying and inspections in connection with the eventual replacement of the bridge on 142nd Street between Stitz Road and Wise Road. The county will be paying MHS roughly $36,200 for those services.

An agreement (i.e., "understanding") between the county and the Kansas Department of Transportation pertaining to the improvements to be made to Wellman Road near 13th Street was approved by way of yet another 3-0 vote. Noll told the commissioners the action needed to be taken in order to "expedite" the grant the county has received to help fund the project. He also told them the letting of bids was scheduled for August and that work on the heavily-traveled road would be done in the fall.

Sam Henderson, Planning and Zoning administrator, appeared before the board to present a report covering the construction of new dwellings within Jefferson County during 2014. The report revealed that his office issued 32 building permits last year, or seven fewer than it did the previous year, and that the estimated cost of construction for these dwellings was $5,717,000.

For comparison's sake, the 39 building permits handed out in 2013 were for dwellings whose estimated cost of construction was $5,171,400.

Henderson also made available to the commissioners a map showing where the seven members of the Regional Planning Commission reside with respect to the county's three commission districts. The goal, according to him, is to have a commission that is balanced from a geographical standpoint.

Currently, four members of the commission live in Luck's district, the First District, two in Malm's, the Third District, and one in Ledbetter's, the Second District.

Beth Brown, R.N., who heads up the county's Health Department, presented the commissioners with a proposed contract between the county and Coventry Health Care pertaining to the administration of flu shots to Jefferson County residents who want one. The contract was OKd on a 3-0 vote.

Brown also gave the commissioners an update on the 2015 Team Challenge, a competition involving county employees that is designed to make everyone more aware of the importance of wellness from both a physical standpoint and a financial standpoint. She reported that 30 employees were participating in this 12-week activity and had formed five teams among themselves. She also asked the commissioners to think about the idea of giving the members of the winning team an additional day off during the year.

Treasurer Mary Underwood appeared before the board to present a sealed bid on the purchase of Lot 11 in Block H of Lake Shore Estates, then the commissioners voted unanimously to accept the offer.

Philip Wolters is shelling out $325 to acquire the lot from the county.

Underwood also announced that Linda Southiere, the county's deputy treasurer, would be retiring this Thursday and that a reception for her was planned. She went on to say that Lisa Buerman would be replacing Southiere as a signee for the Municipal Investment Pool. That necessitated the passage of a resolution designating Buerman as the county's new signee. The resolution, Resolution 2015-02, was approved unanimously.

Chris Schmeissner, Geographic Information Systems/Information Technology director, informed the board that from time to time his office receives requests from out-of-county businesses to be included in the business directory that can be found on the GIS/IT website. According to him, somewhere between 700 and 1,000 businesses are listed in this directory.

Schmeissner indicated to the commissioners that he would like to see them come up with a policy regarding the inclusion of out-of-county businesses in the directory. At least one commissioner pointed out that some of these businesses provide goods and services that no in-county business is currently providing, but everyone recognized that there are other businesses out there that are clearly in direct competition with in-county businesses.

The board told the GIS/IT director that it would discuss the matter at a later date and subsequently let him know how he is to handle future requests from out-of-county businesses.

The commissioners signed two right-of-way permits, one for Verizon Wireless and the other for Centu-ryLink. Verizon Wireless is relocating its utility lines from 46th Street to Sherman Road because of some roadwork that is being done along K-4, while CenturyLink is installing a service line in the vicinity of 94th Street and Washington Road.

At the request of Underwood, the commission met in executive session for five minutes to discuss matters involving non-elected personnel. County Counselor Josh Ney was allowed to remain in the room to facilitate the discussion. No binding action was taken when the meeting reopened to the public.

Shortly after 2, the executive session having just concluded, the commissioners walked out of the courthouse and headed for the Valley Falls area in two vehicles (Malm lives northwest of Valley Falls) to conduct a fence view on property belonging to Rex Lassiter, who lives on the north side of K-16 to the west ofValley Falls. Lassiter, who raises livestock, has had a barbed-wire fence built along the property line that separates land he owns on the south side of the highway from land Bob Carter owns and expects Carter, who is not keeping livestock on his place, to pay half the cost of the project.

According to Lassiter, Carter is obligated to him to the tune of $4,835.

The commissioners spent about 20 minutes discussing the situation with Lassiter. Carter was not present.

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Original Publication Date: January 29, 2015

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