Emergency Communications Director Chris Davis met with the Butler County Board of Commissioners at the meeting on Tuesday, June 6 for approval of an agreement memorandum and annual payment for Next Generation 9-1-1 services.

"Essentially, what we're talking about is replacing our legacy equipment – which is fed by copper phone lines – with [an] IP-based system. So, in addition to moving voice and a little bit of data, it will be robust enough to move a lot of data along with the voice of a 9-1-1 call. By doing that then, we open ourselves up to the ability to pass all kinds of data – in addition to texting," Davis said.

The board of commissioners moved to approve the memorandum of agreement with Kansas 9-1-1 Coordinating Council for participation in the statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 system and authorized chairman Jeff Masterson to sign. The board also authorized Davis to remit the annual payment for Next Generation 9-1-1 to the Kansas 9-1-1 Coordinating Council in the amount of $99,902.11.

Later in the meeting, the board of county commissioners approved a resolution for the appointment of Debra Studebaker as county appraiser.

"Every four years, you're required by statute to appoint a county appraiser. We last appointed Deb Studebaker the county appraiser in 2013, about this same timeframe. With this appointment, she will extend her contract out to July 1 of 2021. She'll fall under the same terms as she is today; there's no changes in that," County Administrator Will Johnson said.

During the other items of business segment of the meeting, the board of commissioners approved the 2017 cereal malt beverage license for the Butler County Saddle Club. The club needs the license for events coming up.

There were also two work sessions in Tuesday's meeting. The first was a compensation study update from The Austin Peters Group, Inc. Rebecca Crowder, founder and president of Austin Peters, discussed the executive summary and the findings of the compensation and classification analysis being performed for Butler County. The results Crowder shared at the meeting are part of a draft; the completed study and its final results are not available yet. The market involved in the study includes multiple counties, cities and local employers.

"When we looked at the market, we found that you were just hovering – in wages – below the 40th percentile, when we looked at all the positions. So, our recommendation would be to go to the 50th percentile of the market, and not the 60th. And what that means is, currently, six [out of 10] employers in the market pay more than you .... Will [Johnson] did mention the issue about benefits. We also found that you're behind there as well – about the same percentile rank, if you look at percentiles. So maybe, over time, you can make some adjustments," Crowder said.

The scope of Austin Peters' services was to provide job description drafts of 157 positions and to look at all the county's positions and reclassify them.

"Of course, when you do a market study and reclassify, that doesn't mean every position is going upward, right? So, we had some that went up and some that went down, in terms of a grade or a range. And that, overall, what we found out once we got all of that done, then we needed to move your ranges up by 3.4 percent just to get to the 50th percentile of the market right now. And so, what Ryan [Adkison] has been diligently doing is working on projecting things forward in terms of cost and what that would look like for January 1 of 2018," Crowder said.

According to the study, it would cost the county $432,000 to move employees up to the proposed, raised wage minimum. That affects 221 employees. The study also recommends giving a pay compression adjustment, which costs $202,000.

The second work session during the meeting was for a radio system used by the county.

"Last week, Ryan [Adkison] brought to you a sales tax report. And sales tax, when it was voted on, was for the construction of a new radio system. We told the voters that once the debt was paid off, or at the end of 10 years, whichever came first, that sales tax would sunset. Current projections from Ryan have it sunsetting roughly 39 months ahead of schedule, in terms of that 10-year window. So we've been talking about the Douglass project for awhile. We'd like to kind of start with that, if we may," Davis said.

Davis mentioned that if Douglass was made a exclusively a receive site, and not a transmitting site, that could be an improvement for the radio system. However, he's not positive that it would completely resolve the problem of weak signals in that part of the county. Davis suggested building another radio site in Douglass entirely, which would cost a significant amount of money. He will continue to bring more information to the county commission on the Douglass site and costs related to different approaches for improving the radio system.