County Briefed on Country Club Road Closure

The 3300 Block of Country Club Road will be closed Thursday and Friday, so temporary repairs can be made where railroad tracks intersect the paved road. County Counselor Mike Montoya told Commissioners that the goal is to “get something done by spring”, adding that “getting the ownership issues settled” this week was an important step. The Union Pacific Railroad acknowledged it owns the property in question, which is near Scoular Elevator.

Home Accessibility Funds Available

Help is available for those needing to make their homes more accessible. The North Central Regional Planning Commission has secured grant funds that will allow 17 Saline County homes to be fitted with ramps, shower bars and other accessibility improvements. Four have applied so far. Those wishing to apply can contact Carol Torkelson, with NCRPC, at 785-738-2218.
Burning Permits Available On-Line

State statutes require anyone who intends to open burn needs to get a burn permit. This can be accomplished by going to Emergency Management Director Hannah Stambaugh said that so far, that office has issued 475 burn permits. Permit holders are still required to call the Emergency Management office, or 9-1-1, an hour before the burn is to take place to make sure wind conditions are under 15 miles per hour. In 2015, Stambaugh said there were 2,295 controlled burns. 2015 saw 139 grass fires; 66 resulted when controlled burns got out of hand.

Volunteer rural fire fighters responded to 626 fire and medical calls last year. Commissioners expressed their appreciation for the significant amounts of time volunteers spend training and responding to calls. Commissioner Dave Smith suggested the County reimburse the volunteers at the IRS mileage reimbursement rate, for travel back and forth from home to their respective fire stations.
Planning Commission Seeks New Members

In Director David Neal’s Planning and Zoning update, he said there will be two open seats on the Saline County Planning Commission, after their March meeting. Last year, the Commission approved term limits. Neal said the Planning Commission can operate with 5 to 9 members but urged any interested individuals to go to to complete an “expression of interest” form. The Board of Zoning Appeals has one opening, so it is possible that someone from the Planning Commission could move on to serve on this board. The Board of Zoning Appeals did not meet last year.

In 2015, the Environmental Health staff conducted 209 inspections in four counties.

In January 2016, the County collected $383,171 in sales tax; this is down 0.54% from January 2015, when the County collected $ 385,258.

During the Public Forum, Karen Shade provided Commissioners with information on the syphilis outbreak from Jennifer Vandevelde, Director of the Disease Control and Prevention Bureau at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

On February 9, the Commission:

• Approved a right-of-way vacation for property owned by Tod Roberg on North 5th, just north of Pleasant Hill Road. Roberg said he intends to install a gate on the south end of the property to alleviate dumping and other concerns. Since a now closed bridge structure is on this property, the Commission asked that this be discussed when the County Engineer next appears before them.
• Re-appointed Christine Ritter and Darrell Wilson as non-lawyer members of the 28th Judicial Court.
• Approved starting a Mechanic A position at grade 15, step 4 and a truck driver position at grade 8, step 4 for Road and Bridge.
• Agreed to reappoint Dr. Charles Allred as County Coroner; they will do a formal resolution next week. In 2016, the total budget for the Coroner is $113,256.

Next week, the Commission will consider Road and Bridge’s equipment improvement plan. With a budget of $500,000, R&B has already acquired three motor graders, at a cost of $262,000. They are seeking permission to purchase a used front end loader (with 1,000-2000 hours) and a used tire truck with a Back-Pac and Tommy Lift, as well as a new asphalt oil trailer and mower deck. The request for a new pick-up truck for the Director drew the most comments, as this had been removed from a purchase request last fall.

Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News

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