Del Provo, heavy equipment operator for the Butler County Public Works Department, was presented with a Spotlight Award at the county commission meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
Earlier this month, the sheriff's department had a report of a stolen vehicle that had just occurred, and a be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) alert was given out over the radio for the vehicle. Provo called Butler County Dispatch, saying that he heard the BOLO and thought that he had the vehicle in sight. A deputy was sent to the location while Provo gave a detailed description and kept an eye on the vehicle. Provo then advised the dispatcher that the vehicle left, and law enforcement units gave chase. The sheriff's office, with the help of the Augusta Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol, recovered the vehicle and the suspect, who had multiple warrants and was arrested.
Through his actions and cooperation with the sheriff's office, Provo assisted law enforcement in quickly recovering stolen property and apprehending a suspect with multiple warrants. Without Provo's help, the situation may not have been as quickly resolved, and much more time and manpower may have been needed. He received a $20 gift card in addition to his award.
"We appreciate your diligence in keeping an eye on things. Good job," Dan Woydziak, county chairman, said.
Darryl Lutz, public works director and county engineer, mentioned another time when Provo aided police in pursuit of a vehicle.
"I believe it was a year prior, during a chip-seal project, there was an actual police chase underway – a vehicle chase by the sheriff's department. And I believe Del was involved in that one also, spotting the vehicle coming through our project's site. He got the trucks cleared off the road and radioed the sheriff's department to let them know the direction the vehicle was going. I believe they successfully apprehended that person also. So, it wasn't the first time. So thank you very much," Lutz said.
Later in the meeting, the board recessed as the county commission and approved the sale of refunding revenue bonds for public facilities projects as the Butler County Public Building Commission (PBC).
The Butler County PBC issued $27,000,000 in bonds to finance the Butler County Jail Facility, the Butler County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center and a Public Safety Center. These 2,000 bonds were refinanced in 2005 to lower interest rate costs. On Dec. 12, 2017, the board of county commissioners recommended that the PBC offer refunding revenue bonds. Now, the PBC will proceed with the bonds.
After adjourning as the PBC and resuming the regular meeting as the county commission, the board approved the sale of the bonds with the supplemental lease and the preliminary official statement. This should reduce the county's debt service costs over the next four years.
Lutz presented three items at Tuesday's meeting. First, he recommended approving a supplemental agreement to the Federal Aid Fund Exchange master agreement between the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and Butler County.
For the past several years, KDOT has engaged in a program to allow counties and cities to exchange federal aid Surface Transportation Program funds with KDOT for state transportation funds at an exchange rate of 90 cents for each dollar of federal aid. This money could be used by local units of government for funding transportation projects without having to meet special federal criteria otherwise required on federal aid projects. In April of 2016, KDOT and Butler County entered into a master agreement to provide for the annual exchange of funds – instead of executing a new agreement for each year.
Lutz explained that the current master agreement needs to be amended to incorporate new policies being implemented by KDOT. Starting in FFY 2018, KDOT is reducing the fund exchange rate to 75 cents for each dollar and will no longer allow banking of money for use in future years.
"Basically, that's just what's going to happen. And for us to continue to do the fund exchange, we'd have to update our agreement," Lutz said.
Eliminating the previous exchange rate will allow flexibility to set the rate each year, and the 15 cents lost in the new rate will be funds retained by the state. This agreement is being modified for all counties statewide.
"So, really, what this has done is increase the financial benefit to the state and brought the counties, or the local municipal government, down to a break-even," Lutz said.
The new exchange rate will reduce the expected revenue for funding capital improvement projects by an estimated $72,000 per year.
"So that 75 cents is about the break-even for us .... It hurts that we're going to lose that 15 cents, though. It's going to hurt us," Lutz said.
The board of commissioners approved the supplemental agreement.