Elm Creek caretaker makes improvements

The new caretaker at Elm Creek Lake, Wallace Maples, has not only been taking care of the upkeep of the lake and outbuildings, but has also been making improvements to the historic lake house. Maples said, “We’re making progress on it. Slow, but it would be nice if sometime we could get a mower out there and clear off the dam.” Public Works Director Marty Pearson said that quite a few fishermen had been out at the lake making use of the newly restocked lake.

Maples mentioned that in the future he would like to see several improvements made to the lake and surrounding area. Maples said that he would like to eventually see chip n’ seal on the roads around the lake to encourage more use of the lake.

In addition, Maples brought up several ideas to eventually add more amenities for campers. Maples said, “Just the reunions I’ve had out there—maybe a bath and shower would be a good thing. I think the lake could bring in really good revenue. I think there would be more campers if we had more access to the lake.”

Commission Chairman Warren discussed adding 4 more RV outlets and having a grader going to work on the east side of shelter number three to help carry water away from that side of the shelter. Maples reported that some campers had been flooded out of that particular shelter in April of this year.

Maples has been doing some work to the lake house, as well as upkeep to the lake itself. Maples said, “Not to take away too much from the historical site—what I was going to do is take some one by’s or two by’s and running them up the sides of the windows.” Maples said rain is currently leaking in and around several windows and getting the insulation and inside of the wall wet. Maples wants to caulk around the windows and replace woodwork and concrete around the fixtures to “keep the weather out” and help preserve the historic lake house.

Warren mentioned that campers had continued problems with tripping breakers at Elm Creek. “They’re undependable,” said Warren of the 20 amp breakers. But Warren did mention that the 30 amp breakers should be more reliable. “If it’s tripping the 30, they probably need to get their camper checked,” Warren said. Warren said that humidity could make a difference in the breakers tripping or not tripping during use. We had some people that were really pleased with Elm Creek, reported Commissioner Albright. “We’ve had a lot of compliments on the lake and how it’s looking,” Maples said. The caretaker received a signed card and flowers from a camper for the work he has been doing with the lake and buildings.

“I want to make it look great—not just knocking  [the grass] down. When people come out there, I want to make it look the best that I can,” Maples said.

Maples mentioned that a ZTR industrial mower would be a “big plus” out at Elm Creek. Pearson mentioned that he would look online and see what the State had available.

Commissioners Warren and Albright both thanked Maples for his work.

In addition, Bourbon County has added a new position in the Road and Bridge Department. Commission Chairman Warren announced the reorganization and the addition of a Director position for which the county will be hiring. Warren mentioned that Marty Pearson has accepted the position of Foreman. “He has a great amount of expertise,”  Warren said of Pearson in his work with the quarry, and that Pearson has made several improvements to efficiency in the operations at the quarry. “It is more than what any one person can get done,” Warren said of the job duties that Pearson had been handling. Warren said that the county is looking for a person who can be responsible for budget and planning and let Pearson focus on areas that need in the county with regard to repair.

Below is a flow chart explaining the new structure for the Road and Bridge Department.


In other news:

  • Jeanie Parker came to the meeting to ask about a time frame for work on Native Road. Pearson replied that he would get the date to her this afternoon. “You guys are doing a great job.” “It takes a lot of communication between a lot of people…at times it is a full-time task,” said Parker. Pearson looked up the exact date and told her it was on the schedule for August 21st.
  • Dan Meara announced that the county will have 68 properties at the next tax sale. The county has started the process of notifying property owners of the Sheriff’s sale. “My guess is the 1st part of August,” Meara said of the expected date of the sale. Meara joked that getting the sale together was a little bit like “herding cats” in that the cases come in batches of 50 at several different intervals. “Each case has its own idiosyncrasies, its own little problems,” Meara said. Meara said that the timing since the last sale, about 4 months, is about right, considering the proper timetable for the sale in August. Lisa Moore of Pleasanton came to the meeting to discuss her husband’s rental houses and other properties that have been listed on the upcoming tax sale. She mentioned to the commissioners and Meara that she was very unhappy about her husband’s dealings in letting the properties fall behind in taxes, and that she would like to fix up those properties and pay the back taxes on them. Moore asked for time to get the properties back in shape, saying that she promised to do something about the properties, even work to beautify them with landscaping. Commission Chairman Warren wished her good luck in her endeavors, and reassured her that she still had 4 months in order to save her properties. Moore thanked the commissioners and those in attendance for their time.
  • Public Works Director Marty Pearson noted tree damages due to weather. “We had a lot of tree damage Thursday night, said Pearson. “I had some right down here on Kansas.” I had one down on 240th around Deer Road. Pearson also mentioned another 4 out on Grant and 2 on 40th street. Pearson said that the county had gotten the trees pushed out of the road, but that they wanted to get out and cut up the trees soon as one is pushed up close to a landowner’s fence.
  • Pearson reported that outstanding checks to the landfill, presumably from contractors, have been turned in. Contractors have been notified that checks will be due Monday of each week. Pearson mentioned that one trailer came in overloaded and that it is blocking the road. Pearson explained that the trailer did have hydraulics, but that the load was too heavy to be lifted by the trailer’s system. Pearson said that the county would charge $40 to help unload the trailer with the rubber tired excavator. Commission Chairman Warren cautioned Pearson about possible damage to the trailer during the unloading, and Pearson assured Warren that he had a sheet outlining charge to the contractor that would normally be used to ensure the county’s protection in case of an accident during snow removal. Pearson indicated that having the contractor sign this sheet would take care of the liability.
  • Terri Coop, Bourbon County Emergency Manager, presented her department’s 2014 budget to the commission. Coop kept her own salary static, but added $3,000 into another area to help take care of expenses for other personnel. Coop reported that the state is encouraging counties to move away from using grant money to pay salaries, and indicated that the $3,000 will help prevent using grant money to pay personnel. Reorganization of phone system, as well as cancelled contracts for software and other items in the department will compensate for that $3,000 addition. Coop also mentioned giving the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) team a small amount of the budget.“We have extremely responsible CERT team managers now, “ Coop said, but Coop said that she will still preside over that allotted money.Coop said that she has been told to anticipate cuts from sequestration, but that after the disaster in Boston, some homeland security grants have been restored, including a $15,000 grant, which Coop’s department will receive. Coop said that the grant is a “lump-sum” grant that the state receives and parcels out among the counties. Coop said that much of the 2014 grant will go to assist Chief Ballou in his efforts to improve communications, of which efforts Coop said Ballou had done great work.
  • In an update on the Swift semi accident, Coop said that the fuel spill had been contained. “It’s out there tarped, awaiting disposal,” Coop said. Coop said that the county’s emergency responders had stabilized the fuel spill, and that it was Swift’s responsibility to clean up the spill since it was the company’s truck that caused the spill.
  • Commissioners discussed salary for the county assessor’s position, which serves a 4 year term. The county assessor, Judy Wallis, will receive an increase in salary. Wallis’ annual salary will be 61, 916.32 effective July 1st, with a 2% increase per year through the next 4 years. Commissioner Warren moved to pass Resolution 30-13, effective July 1st. Commissioner Harold Coleman seconded.


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