Butler County Times Gazette
  • Legion asks for support of growing Government Day activities

  • The American Legion’s annual Government Day has exhibited a steady growth of participation in the past several years.
    • email print
  • The American Legion’s annual Government Day has exhibited a steady growth of participation in the past several years.
    On Tuesday morning, Gary Rogers, representing the American Legion, brought before the Butler County Commission a request to help fund the project, which has grown to include many schools county-wide.
    “Last year, we registered 280 students that participated in Government Day,” said Rogers. “This year, we estimate an additional 260 students will participate in the program. This program is at risk with our current funding. We’re here to ask for financial assistance to allow the program to continue to grow.”
    The program includes a tour of the courthouse and the judicial center, and presentations on different aspects of government, as well as emergency services.
    “These government classes are only a semester long,” said Rogers. “We would also like to do this again in the spring.”
    I’m very supportive of providing this funding,” said Commissioner Peggy Palmer. “I remember doing it when I was in school.”
    “The consensus of the board is to fund the program,” commented Commissioner Dan Woydziak. “Once we find a funding mechanism, we’ll get back to you.”
    David Miller, speaking for his father, Frank Miller, and HMA Properties of Andover, appeared before the Commission to address the issue of an easement, involving the railroad and the county.
    The property in question was involved in a right-of-way in the Andover district where a storage building was demolished and another was brought to use as a location for the Andover Fire District.
    “Basically you guys removed a usable storage space and I’d like that back,” said Miller. “The county never received ownership of any property for this action.”
    “The court case Miller mentioned said basically because of the Trails Act, the owners would be compensated for the property,” said County Administrator Will Johnson. “The whole court case revolved around using the right of way for trails instead of railroads.”
    “The old building needed a new roof, we’re not denying that,” commented David Miller about the demolished building. “But it was usable storage.”
    The total compensation requested for the demolishing of the building, as well as damages totaled $50,000.
    “I’d like to have an opinion from our attorney on the matter,” said Commissioner Peggy Palmer.
    The commission tabled the issue in order to speak with legal counsel and promised to notify the Millers about any further discussions.
    Page 2 of 3 - Director of Economic Development David Alfaro addressed the board concerning the scheduling of a public hearing for Sept. 24 to allow for public comment on Mid-Kansas Co-Op’s request of $6,000,000 in Industrial Revenue Bonds for the construction of a new grain elevator on land located at Highway 254 and Butler Road.
    “I just don’t see the benefits to the county,” commented Palmer. “This is a corporation that can do a lot of good things just because they are a big corporation. I worry about the smaller companies around Butler County.”
    “It’s not an issue of we’re showing favoritism to them because they’re bigger,” explained Alfaro. “This is just a process. If they (the smaller companies in Butler County) want to expand and they request assistance, we’ll help them.”
    The problems the building of this grain elevator will cause in terms of roads was a large concern that was brought to the commission’s attention by Commissioner Ed Myers.
    “Farming is no longer done with 10,000 pound trucks, but with 60,000 pound trucks,” said Myers. “I believe that the county is going to be faced with some significant improvements to Butler Road at 254 with the construction of this elevator. They’re likely to cost a lot of money. Butler Road is heavily traveled. I think you could easily see a quarter million dollars just on road maintenance, improvements and signs over a 10-year period. That to me is something that places this specific project into question. The bottom line that we have to look at carefully is if this is in fact in the best financial interest of Butler County.”
    “The Co-Op is actually converting from a little bitty co-op that doesn’t have a lot to offer for retail sales and they’re going to build a regional type store,” said Johnson. It will be full of stock equipment and it is going to be quite a bit bigger.”
    “We shouldn’t neglect the cost that the county will incur in terms of the improvements to the road, traffic handling,” added Myers. “It’s going to be substantial. The co-op is an extremely profitable organization. They could build it without financing it at all. If a place comes in that is going to add these costs, the taxes should be paid by that company.”
    “Those are the issues that can be addressed when we get to that point in time. Right now we just want to set the public hearing date,” said Alfaro. “At some point in time, you can decide if you want to issue a tax abatement for one year or 10 years.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Dan Woydziak then moved to approve of the public hearing date and the motion was carried 4-1 with Palmer opposing.
    The commission also:
    • approved the purchase of two pneumatic rubber tired rollers for the Highway Division of the Public Works Department from Foley Equipment for the amount of $278,480.04.
    • approved and adopted a Title 6 plan for the Department of Aging, which outlines the procedures needed for the protection of the Civil Rights Act for public transportation.
    • completed a work session regarding the Audit RFP, which involves a two-year extension on the current contract and a 3 pecent increase in fees.
      • calendar