Bridge Issue Prompts Entrance Closures

As Building Superintendent Duane Grace studied the possibility of resurfacing the walkway across a pedestrian bridge on the North of the City-County Building, he was prompted to remove a tile from the underside of the structure.  Concrete had come down from the suspended ceiling.

Grace asked County Engineer Neil Cable to inspect the structure.  Cable said years of salting the bridge had caused the concrete to become saturated with salt, which caused the rebar to swell.

An emergency meeting of the Building Authority has been called for Wednesday, August 3, at 8:30 AM in Room 107B.  Grace is in the process of trying to reach contractors to determine if the structure can be saved or if it must be re-built.

Until the matter is resolved:

  • Both the first and second floor North entrances are closed.
  • Vehicles are not permitted to drive under the bridge.
  • Inmates headed to Court will enter and exit the building at the South entrance. As a result, several parking spots on the South side of the building will be unavailable.

Septic System Issues

Saline County Commissioners asked Planning and Zoning Director David Neal to draft a policy that differentiates between adequate and inadequate septic systems.  Over the course of several months, Commissioners have discussed concerns brought forth from home owners who have had their septic systems inspected as part of the process of selling their homes.  Commissioners readily agree that failing septic systems need to be replaced.  However, the County’s inspectors also assess adequacy of the system using State issued guidelines.  Commissioners Dave Smith, John Price, and Jim Gile have taken exception to the need to replace a system judged to be inadequate in size based on the number of bedrooms in the home and the presence of a garbage disposal.

Neal said he and County Counselor Mike Montoya have reviewed the requirements of State Bulletin 4-2, which relates to septic systems and lagoons.  In the absence of County codes, the County must follow the State’s minimum codes.

Smith said, “Other counties don’t require home owners to put in a new septic system” that is functioning, but not adequate in size.  Neal replied, “They probably should, but I’m not here to police them”.  Smith responded there are “many ways to look at this”.

Lloyd Davidson was impacted by this; as he sold his home, an inspection showed his septic tank was functional, but based on how adequacy was defined, it was judged to be undersized and had to be replaced.  Adding to his frustration, because the septic tank was functional, Davidson could not seek assistance from the Soil Conservation District, which makes some funding available to replace failing systems.

Neal said he plans to put a draft policy before the Board in three weeks; if that draft is acceptable, the matter could move to a public hearing.

Home Occupation

A public hearing is planned for August 9th’s Open Forum to discuss changes in the Home Occupation codes that have already been approved by the Planning Commission.  These changes will be made public in the August 9th Board agenda packet.

Neal characterized the changes as a loosening of requirements “to allow for more home businesses in rural areas”.  He said for those businesses that occur in the home and out of sight of neighbors, the owner can pretty much “do what they want”.  For activities what require equipment or supplies to be stored outside, the owners may have to “screen” these supplies/activities.  A shade tree mechanic” was identified as one business that may draw concern from neighbors.

The proposed plan allows neighbors to bring forth a “protest petition” if they have a complaint about what the home owner is doing.  The Planning Commission will then make a decision, based on a vote of a ¾ “super majority”.

In other business:

  • Commissioners approved, in a 4-0 vote, a plan to move the Health Department to a Cloud Based pbx phone system with NexTech. This is expected to produce a $65-95 savings each month.  Price had left the study session prior to discussion of this topic.
  • Road Superintendent Darren Fishel and Cable presented their bi-monthly Road and Bridge / County Engineer update. Yesterday, new doors were installed at the R&B Shop.  The new tracks and features are anticipated to cut down on dust and improve insulation.
  • City Manager Jason Gage had informed County Administrator Rita Deister that events held at the EXPO Center can be promoted on the new digital sign being erected at Ohio and Midway.
  • In July, $389,714 was collected in sales tax, a 3.82% increase from July 2015’s collections of $375,389. Year-to-date sales tax collections of $2,714,125 lag slightly behind 2015’s collections of $2,728,655 by 0.53%.
  • Some individuals have approached Commissioners about a mailing from “Concerned Citizens for America’s Future”. The letter bears a seal depicting a ballot box; some have described this as being a letter sent “from the State” but it does not bear the State’s seal.  The letter identifies several people and whether they have or have not voted in recent elections.  Gile said those who have spoken to him are angry and said they would not vote, because they felt they were being watched.
  • After the County Counselor completes his review of the contract for building a new fire station in Assaria, Chairman Monte Shadwick was asked to sign it so work could begin.
  • Citizens will have an opportunity to review the proposed 2017 budget starting next week; the budget hearing is scheduled for August 16th.


Shadwick thanked all six candidates in attendance at the Open Forum for their willingness to serve.  He wished them well as election results will come in later this evening.


The study session began at 8:30 and concluded at 9:30.  Open Forum lasted from 11:00 – 11:30 with an executive session afterward.