County Denies Row Vacation Request

In a 3-0 vote, Saline County Commissioners denied Chris Allen Phelps request that the County vacate its right of way along a two mile section of Wyman Road, between Lockard Road and Ottawa Road. Approximately nine individuals attended the Open Forum to hear this discussion.

County Engineer Neil Cable summed up the matter: Years ago, the County obtained many road easements, for roads it never put in. In the future, the County could decide to put a road in. Regardless, the County has to maintain the easement to allow Westar access to its power lines that are placed along the easement.

Phelps asked County Clerk Don Merriman to begin the process of vacating this right of way. In Open Forum, he said that in 1982, he built a fence to protect his property. However, cattle periodically damage this fence. Having the County vacate the right of way would require Bob Albers and the other owner (identified as “Watkins”) to build a new fence; Albers reported that this would cost $10,000/mile.

Albers said he owns property on both sides of the right of way. When asked to quantify who owns what, Albers said he owns 90% of the property adjoining the right of way, while Watkins owns 5% and Phelps owns 5%. Vacating the right of way would add approximately 25 feet beyond Phelp’s current fence line. It would “shift” measurements for Albers; any change would be to the detriment of Watkins.

The Board acknowledged there could be civil considerations related to the maintenance of the fence. Commissioner Dave Smith moved to deny the resolution; this motion was seconded by Commissioner John Price. Commissioner Jim Gile joined them in voting to deny the resolution.

As a secondary issue, Albers was away when the County Clerk’s certified notice was sent. It was picked up by Albers daughter, Laurie DeBold, on December 24, 2015. Notice of the proposed vacation was published in the Salina Journal on December 26, 2015. There was discussion about how quickly the County Commission should move to hear such requests, as citizens are having to respond in a tight time frame.
City to Administer 911 Fees Account and Committee

On December 28, the Salina City Commission approved a resolution that makes the City–and not the County–the repository for 911 fees (that are assessed monthly on each land line and cell phone). The resolution also moved the 911 Fees Account Committee under the City’s administration. During the 29th meeting, the County agreed with the changes and passed its own resolution, 3-0, that mirrored the changes adopted by the City. This is a result of the County’s decision to move its funds to the Bennington State Bank. County Counselor Mike Montoya said he’d reviewed and approved the related documents; but, none of these were posted on the County’s website prior to the County taking the above action.
County Took the Following Action:
• Approved the purchase of a laptop computer and ARCGIS license, for a price not to exceed $2,500 for Emergency Management.
• Accepted the low bid by Precision Electric, for $7,842, to replace and move fiber optic and telephone line near the Road and Bridge shop.
• Awarded the bid for two Quick Attack Brush fire truck beds to Weis Fire, for $126,516 for Rural Fire District #7.
• Awarded the bid to construct a rigid frame bridge (RFB) drainage conveyance structure to Reece Construction, Inc., for $206,432. This will be located on Gypsum Road, 0.5 miles south of Rose Hill Road. The bid is designed to avoid construction during the wheat harvest; construction on the structure will occur between August and December 1, 2016.
• Authorized purchase of a vertical oil storage tank and a fuel handling cart for $11,287 to address concerns raised by the Fire Marshall during a recent inspection of the Road and Bridge shop.
In other matters:
• Sales tax revenues for 2015 will amount to $4,667,362; this is a 2.59% year-to-date increase over 2014’s sales tax revenues of $4,549,576.
• Health Department Director Jason Tiller and Human Resources Director Marilyn Leamer explained changing needs as Home Health is becoming more successful at billing and getting prompt payments from insurers. Pending the results of a survey that will determine if position responsibilities have changed, the Commissioners may then be approached to consider a Request for Action. At this time, plans are to use a home health aide for a dedicated ten hours a week to free up time so staff can pursue billing additional providers or pursue reasons for claims being denied.
• The next EXPO Center Committee meeting will be January 20th, at 6:00 PM, at the Show Office. David Flaherty Sr. has been promoted to Weed Supervisor.

County Commissioners Luci Larson and Monte Shadwick did not attend this meeting; though Shadwick said he could be available by phone.

Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News

Copyright © Alpha Media, 2015.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this story or website may be reproduced without Alpha Media’s express consent