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County Welcomes Open Burning Input

Karen Shade - May 30, 2017 2:43 pm

The public is invited to comment on open burning—as done by agriculture producers or by home owners–through June 5th.  A ten question survey can be found on the home page of the Saline County website, www.saline.org.

Emergency Management Director Hannah Stambaugh told Commissioners that as of last Saturday, 353 individuals had responded to the survey.  She found the comments made by respondents to be most helpful.

Under the Commission’s direction, Stambaugh has organized fire fighters and land managers to examine prescribed burning practices.  The committee has reviewed practices used in other counties to see if any of these practices might be a “good fit” for Saline County.

In addition, Kansas Wesleyan University has placed rural weather stations across the county to help land owners better gauge wind speeds.  Under the Emergency Management tab of the Saline County website, Stambaugh said land owners can access current readings as well as additional information from the National Weather Service.

Acting Chairman Robert Vidricksen commended Stambaugh for the work the committee has done.  He noted that a second burning season will begin, once wheat is harvested and land owners address the remaining stubble.

Road and Bridge Office, Break Room and Meeting Room Upgrade to Proceed

Commissioners, in a 4-0 vote, agreed to use DMA Architects to provide professional services to upgrade the offices, break room and meeting rooms at the Road and Bridge Maintenance Building.  Commissioner Monte Shadwick did not attend the meeting.

R&B has a capital improvement fund with a balance of $1,121,195.  DMA Architects , PA will receive a scaled professional fee to evaluate the building code, provide preliminary design and cost estimates, finalize designs, prepare plans, assist with bid management and oversee construction.

Last week, Commissioners Jim Weese and Rodger Sparks met with County Administrator Rita Deister, IT Director Brad Bowers, R&B Superintendent Darren Fishel and County Engineer Neil Cable to hear presentations from the two responding firms.  Weese said it was a pleasure to be able to choose between two strong proposals.

Electronic Polling Books

Commissioners agreed to table a decision on the proposed purchase of 65 “Poll Pad” units.  County Clerk Jamie Allen said her office has used the Poll Pads for early voting.  Her request would place two or three Poll Pads at each of the 33 polling places.

At the polling place, an individual provides a government form of identification and the Poll Pad reads the bar code on the identification.  The I-pad is loaded with voter registration information; the poll worker confirms the name and picture on the id is the person who is before them.  The voter then electronically signs the pad.  Allen said that purchasing the Poll Pads would save the County from printing and storing polling books.  Later in the meeting, Allen demonstrated the pad.

Allen said the 65 Poll Pads will cost $62,010 and will have an $8,125 annual maintenance agreement cost.  She is finalizing another request for action, where she will request the County purchase new voting machines.  She said that if approved by the Commission, the Poll Pads and new voting machines could likely be accomplished with the $580,000 Capital Improvement Funds already available to the County Clerk.

In other matters, Commissioners:

  • Signed an agreement with Graham County to possibly house inmates at a daily cost of $35.
  • Singed a performance agreement for the main speaker at the County’s annual employee in-service.
  • Reviewed a request by the Tri-Rivers Fair Board, who is asking for an appropriation of $20,000 in the 2018 budget to host the Tri Rivers Fair.
  • Heard a request from Shelia Nelson-Stout for a 5% increase in OCCK’s appropriation, for the 2018 budget. Last year, OCCK provided services to 1,300 Saline County residents to help keep them independent and in their homes.  OCCK employs 204 individuals through their Salina offices.  CityGo buses are one of OCCK’s most visible services.  However, in the near future, OCCK plans to unveil bus service to transport individuals three times a day from communities like Belleview back and forth to Salina.  In addition, OCCK provides employment services.

At next Tuesday’s 9:00 AM Open Forum, the Commission will select its County Appraiser.  Vidricksen encouraged the public to appear and share comments as part of the Commission’s decision making process.