County Commissioners’ Meeting 5/20/2013

At today’s Commissioners’ Meeting, Allen Warren, Barbara Albright and Harold Coleman discussed and debated a wide range of issues while listening to the concerns of citizens from several townships.

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Public Works Director Marty Pearson dropped by to report on storm damage from the previous evening’s storm. Pearson said, “A lot of wind damage–we’ve got a few trees we’re working on, so we’re trying to get them cleaned up.”

Other issues addressed by Pearson include repairs to one of the county’s road graders and possibly hiring seasonal workers for mowing.  The grader will need a new o-ring seal around its engine and transmission. The cost of repair, according to Pearson, is estimated to be around $2,700. Warren moved to hire 4 seasonal workers at $10.00 per hour, and  Albright seconded. Commissioners discussed possibly hiring retiree workers, who according to Harold Coleman, “got a lot of miles [of mowing] covered and the machines were taken care of.” Albright also mentioned that Fort Scott Community College might be contacted to let students know about the seasonal jobs at Public Works. Pearson expects the positions to be part-time, but that weather permitting, the workers could put in up to 40 hours per week.

After Pearson left, Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Michaels stepped in to discuss billing for Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. Because the payment schedules for the county and the Heartland differ, a problem arose. The county attempted to correct the issue by offering to pay with a credit card or by asking the company to change the schedule for that particular payment. When the company did not accept these measures, Commissioners and County Clerk Kendell Mason agreed that it would be best for the county to pay $100 in advance on the account to avoid late fees. Albright moved that the county should pay ahead $100, and Allen seconded.

Following the discussion of the electric bill, Sheriff Ron Gray and Undersherrif Bill Martin brought to the commissioners’ attention a proposal to possibly replace some of the county’s aging or damaged patrol vehicles. According to Undersherrif Martin, the county had only 2 fully functional patrol cars with which to work last month as a result of storm damage and patrol-related damages.

Gray and Martin have proposed a 5-year plan to purchase seven (7) new patrol vehicles for the county while keeping the three remaining vehicles they possess that are in good working condition. The vehicles Gray and Martin would like to purchase are three pickups (1500 range in size) and four SUV-type vehicles equipped with All Wheel Drive (AWD). Martin presented the state bid from Olathe Ford, which was $27,174 per truck, which includes all extra electrical equipment and installations of light bars, strobes, etc. The price for an SUV-type vehicle is estimated to be $31,858 fully equipped. Martin said that the vehicle would basically be a “Ford Explorer” with AWD.

Martin pointed out that though it costs a bit more to have Ford install the necessary components such as light bars, strobes and electrical work, it is worth the cost. Martin mentioned that if even one wire crosses another, it could ruin the vehicle’s computer system, rendering it useless. According to Martin, it is better in the long run to pay a Ford mechanic to do the work correctly.

Next commissioners and County Attorney Terri Johnson discussed the purchase of the building at 108 W. 2nd Street in Fort Scott that the county currently leases. According to Johnson, the price per square foot to purchase the building is very low–$35 per square foot. The initial cost for purchase of the building is estimated to be $162, 700. According to Johnson, the roof of the building needs to eventually have drains installed or be remodeled so that it sheds water effectively, and the electrical work also needs to be updated in the future.

Finally, Custodial Supervisor David Neville came back to update commissioners on last weeks situation regarding insurance. According to Neville, the insurance company still has not recognized the damage that will occur to the existing insulation on the roof of the courthouse during repairs necessitated by the April hailstorm. Oddly enough, Neville says that the scope of work from the insurance company includes 1/2 inch of insulation, but the company still does not acknowledge the 2+ inches of existing insulation that would be damaged.

The adjuster mentioned perhaps being able to work on the air vents on top of the courthouse, but remains firm on the company’s stand regarding repairing exterior walls of the correctional center.

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