Will pay for one commissioner to be member
Keith Lawing, senior administrator for Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP) of South Central Kansas, met with the Butler County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, April 4 to discuss the possibility of Butler County rejoining REAP.
Lawing explained the costs for certain entities to join the partnership as associate, non-voting members. A full membership has the voting privilege.
"The associate membership for an organization is 250 dollars .... And then, the individual membership would be 50 dollars as an associate member," Lawing said.
The board of commissioners decided not to join REAP in full membership as Butler County, but they agreed to pay for County Commissioner Mike Wheeler to join as an individual associate member. After one year, the board of commissioners will reassess joining as Butler County.
Next, Butler County Undersheriff Tony Wilhite addressed the board to request approval for a vehicle capital improvement plan (CIP) purchase of 10 new 2017 Dodge Chargers to be used by the sheriff's department.
"We've got about ten of the patrol vehicles that have exceeded 100,000 miles and are in need of repair," Wilhite said.
A bid from Parks Motors came in at $24,130 for the cost of one new 2017 Dodge Charger. Davis-Moore Automotive gave a bid of $23,899 for the same vehicle.
Wilhite clarified that the vehicle purchase would not be an addition to the fleet, but a replacement going to patrol officers. After discussion about whether or not the purchase of new Dodge Chargers instead of used vehicles would be necessary, the board of commissioners decided to table the item until next week.
After a five-minute break, the board of commissioners met with Mike Craft, assistant director of public works, to receive bids for a public works department shirt order. As one of the bids was not tabulated, the public works department will tabulate and evaluate the bids and bring back a recommendation next week for which vendor to select for the shirt order.
Then, Craft addressed the board for liquid asphalt bid openings. There were four bids, and they will be tabulated, evaluated and returned at the next county commission meeting for a recommendation by the public works department.
Following Craft, County Administrator Will Johnson explained the item of a residential driveway relocation and reimbursement by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for the Hull family near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway crossing at 4332 SW Kickapoo Road.
"This is a railroad crossing upgrade right next to the landfill. It requires the relocation of the driveway because it's too close to the railroad crossing .... Darryl [Lutz] has the signed agreement from the landowner with him at home," Johnson said.
The board of commissioners approved the relocation of the driveway and reimbursement by KDOT for the project. The relocation work will cost $4,450.
The board of commissioners held two work sessions during the meeting on Tuesday. The first work session was a discussion on the future of the motor vehicles office in El Dorado and the western office in the Augusta airport.
"...We don't have a real clear picture of what needs to occur there at the western office. We got some money put in the CIP to do that. We have a price to do some parking lot improvements – they're going to need that for a majority of that. But I think, to be prudent, we need to investigate and study this a lot closer [and] put some people together ... to look at what's the future of motor vehicles. Is it two locations? Is it staying at the western office? Is it doing nothing, per se? You know? What are our trends, moving forward? What's our trends been lately? Are we still seeing growth and people coming to the western office and transactions?" Johnson said.
Some options would be minor or major renovations and modifications at the western office or looking into a leased space for that office at a different location. The board of commissioners will work toward putting a committee together to investigate the best decisions to be made about the western office.
The second work session was a discussion on the Butler County Government Strategic Plan for 2017-19. The plan explains future goals for Butler County and is a result of a strategic planning retreat for the county commission and staff that occurred March 13 and 20. Johnson worked with the commissioners on revisions to the most recent draft, and they will continue to revisit the plan until a final draft is approved.
Johnson also gave an update on the staff retention and revenue status at the Butler County Jail.
"Yesterday, they were about 4,700 dollars [in revenue]. We need to hit, on average, to be at our budget, about 65 [hundred] .... Now, we're way ahead of schedule on getting hiring. Things are working out very well recently. We're down to four vacant positions – four deputy positions. So where we're at with that is, in about 60 days, it should be ramping up and hitting the revenue," Johnson said.
The jail will be able to take more revenue inmates the less it is understaffed. Johnson added that the revenue from the jail may come up shorter at the end of the year than what the county ideally needs. But the recent reduction in revenue inmates was helpful for the working conditions of detention staff while there were more vacant positions in the past few months.
Before the end of the meeting, County Clerk Don Engels informed the board of commissioners that American Legion Post #81 requests the county to purchase 1,500 grave markers for use to honor military veterans. The markers cost $5 each. The board of commissioners decided to look into the necessity of that specific amount of markers before making that purchase.
Levi Yager can be reached at email@example.com.