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County Mulls Closing East Country Club Road

KSAL Staff - February 2, 2016 5:07 pm

Frustrated by a lack of progress in repairing a railroad crossing at the 3300 block of East County Club Road, Saline County Commissioners instructed County Counselor Mike Montoya to notify the Union Pacific Railroad, Scoular Grain, and Exline. A series of complaints last August prompted the County to reduce the speed and place road hazard signs. Today, Commissioners spoke of the possibility of closing the road, as an alternative.

Going Out to Bid to Remodel Road & Bridge Shop

County Commissioners directed Road & Bridge Director Gary Nash to get bids to make a “bare minimum” set of improvements to the Road & Bridge Shop, located at 3424 Airport Road. Nash is tasked with obtaining bids for planned sewer, plumbing, electrical, construction and doors—either to be bid individually or in any combination, as a project. Once bids are obtained, Commissioners will review them and then vote on whether to proceed with making improvements.

Since December, Commissioners Jim Gile and John Price have worked with Nash and County Engineer Neil Cable to develop both a “bare minimum” and “full remodel” budget for remodeling the shop. They worked with Brandon Hughes of Harbin Construction, L.L.C. and Tom Perez, of Precision Electric, to help define the scope and sequence of work. In full disclosure, Harbin Construction works with Commissioner Luci Larson’s husband.

On Harbin Construction letterhead, an unsigned “bare minimum budget” identifies seventeen items, with a budget of $316,386. Of this, Precision Electric estimates $46,340 would need to be budgeted for:
• Providing a new electrical service entrance.
• Replacing building lighting T8s.
• Providing emergency exit lighting, including lighted exit signs and lighted exits/entrances.

Other “bare minimum” improvements include:
• Replacing the existing women’s restroom with a uni-sex ADA compliant restroom.
• Eliminating the wall-to-ceiling gap in the men’s restroom.
• Building a new double-door ADA-compliant entrance/extension into facility.
• Removing the south door in the staff’s break room.
• Addressing issues with the chain saw room’s overhead doors.
• Replacing all overhead doors and openers (with the exception of the wash bay); this includes removing cinder blocks to allow for the widest and tallest doors possible (to make it easier to bring the largest equipment into the shop).
• Installing a vehicle exhaust ventilation system for three bays.
• Removing and replacing all steel problematic entrance doors and frames.
• Fixing (welding, reskinning) the wash bay’s west and south walls.
• Insulating and heating the shop’s bathroom.
• Painting whatever needs painted after being fixed, skinned or blocked.
• Providing handicapped parking spots near new ADA compliant entrance.
• Material abatement allowance for VAT (or glue).
This does not include doing any work to existing structural building components of the east addition.

Upon touring the building last week, Commissioners asked that the following be added to the “bare minimum” budget:
• “Re-fixing” roof by removing mechanical ventilation equipment from the 1950s that is causing leaks.
• Taking water and sewer lines from the facility to the street (and deleting the lift pump) or plumbing in a proper lift system that would meet codes.
• Removing tiles and polishing the floors in certain parts of the building.

These estimates do not include any utility company charges or fees. Nor do they include architectural or engineering design fees.

Discussions seemed to bog down on whether replacing windows and installing sheet rock should be included in the “bare minimum bid”. These items, like other items on a long list of improvements, may have to wait for another time.

Sherriff’s Office to Restructure

County Commissioners approved Sheriff Glen Kochanowski’s plan to restructure the Sheriff’s Office. Kochanowski said his plan will add one new employee to the Jail, which will come about from not filling one administrative captain’s position. This new lieutenant’s position will give the jail two lieutenants. A lieutenant will work an expanded day (from 8 AM – 8 PM, instead of from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM).

Kochanowski said that most of the problems the jail experiences with inmates occur between 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM, when the jail has fewer staff on duty. “Lights out” is at 10:00 PM.

The Sheriff, who isn’t running for re-election, hinted he may name an undersheriff after the primary.

Commission to Proceed with Salary Survey

Commissioners signed an $11,000+ contract with Archer Corporation, to conduct a salary survey. Human Resources Director Marilyn Leamer said it had been ten years since a salary survey had been conducted. The survey will include every position. In a 3-2 vote, Gile and Price dissented. Later, at the Public Forum, Price said commissioners are able to make salary decisions without spending money on the survey.

Commissioners also:
• Approved spending $21,316 with Eagle Software to update the County’s data back-up systems.
• Approved spending $14,655 to purchase ten portable radios for the Sheriff’s Office; these will replace some radios that date to 2000 and 2003.
• Expressed interest in reappointing the County Coroner; his four year contract is coming to an end.
• Appointed Tracy Wiegart to serve on the Solid Waste Management Committee.
• Decided to proceed with re-appointing Darrell Wilson and Christine Ritter to the 28th Judicial District as non-lawyer representatives.
• Proclaimed February 2016 as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
• Approved advertising for a receptionist at the Health Department.

Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News

Copyright © Alpha Media, 2016.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this story or website may be reproduced without Alpha Media’s express consent.

Brent Williams

February 2, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Well if they are going to close the road then close it to trucks going to the elevator as well. Also close down the railroad tracks both on country club and North St so there will be no train service. If these non elected commissioners want to put it to us taxpayers by closing country club rd on us then put the elevator in a closed situation as well.

Keith Davis

February 3, 2016 at 4:53 am

It would be nice if they could stop the railroad Brent but it doesn’t work that way. There is a “we don’t know who is responsible for repairing the crossing on Country Club. They all say that it is his problem, not ours. Anyway, the county has no authority to close the railroad, only the road itself.

Brent Williams

February 3, 2016 at 7:59 am

Keith that may be true but there are always ways. If this road is closed those of us that use it will reopen it. They closed it not to long ago to fix it and nothing was done. We got the city commission going rogue and they will be held responsible and now the county commissioners trying to pull this off not gonna happen.

Keith Davis

February 4, 2016 at 3:10 am

Brent.. I have been trying to organize that fight for many years with no success. People say allot but will not follow when it comes to to take action. It is hard to fight large corporations and local governments as well as very costly. Oh, and the CITY Commission has no jurisdiction at this crossing That will be COUNTY Government.

Doug Clemens

February 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Keith Davis I agree with you. The uproar on the county commissioners was terrible. But looking at it now it was promoted by people who wanted on it and knew ahead of time that would be done. It all falls into place. But I agree you cannot just close a road to people who use it daily. Plus have you ever drove on East North street a road 1 mile north of country club after a rain? From the west E. North street floods then mud all the way. If you continue across Simpson road you are in for more mud and flooding across the road but nothing has not been done to correct the situation. First off North st. is supposed to be limited to small trucks and auto’s but semi’s use it at will and naturally the Sheriff has no one out there. They park at the firehouse a 1/2 south of Country Club road on Simpson. My point is traffic detouring would have a rough go of it.

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City of Salina