County Hears Requests From RFDs

In the words of acting Chairman John Price, a lot of business was transacted at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting.  Three rural fire departments made separate requests, Road & Bridge was involved with at least six requests, and the Health Department had four requests.

Rural Fire Department Requests

RFD #2’s request for a new fire station drew the most discussion.  Dave Sommerfeld, RFD#2 Treasurer and Calvin Kelsey, RFD#2 Board Member presented detailed schematics for the new station.  RFD#2 owns the current building but not the land it sits on.  Chris Short traded tilled farm land for two acres that once housed an elevator, which has since been demolished.  RFD#2 has worked closely with the architect who designed the remodel for Salina FD Station House #1 over the past three years, as RFD#2 plans for a new station that will also serve some community functions.  Commissioners asked whether other architects had been allowed to bid on the project and what the architect’s fees might be.

RFD#3 requested authorization to purchase a used 2010 International 7300 4×4 cab/chassis to be used as a Fire Tanker in Bavaria.  The tanker has 123,000 and would cost $58,000 (with some labor and material donations).  It would replace a 1981 International S-1900 cab/chassis.

RFD#5 requested authorization to replace gutters and fascia.  They received a bid of $6,153 from Ponton Construction and a second bid of $7,943 from Stevenson Construction.

These matters will come up for a vote a next week’s Open Forum.

Bids Opened to Repair Road & Bridge Shop

Last Thursday, bids were opened to begin the process of repairing/updating the R&B Shop.  These bids included:  replacement of garage bay doors, entry and exit doors, a vehicle exhaust system, and the electric service.  On Friday, County Engineer Neil Cable reviewed the bids and did “apple to apple” comparisons that can be viewed under the Commission’s agenda at

Road & Bridge Superintendent Darren Fishel reported that the cost of getting permits for each of the four items would total $3,560; but if they were issued as a group, the total cost would be $2,570.  The County approached Riley Construction to see if this firm might agree to serve as general contractor.  Riley Construction did much of the work when the Health Department’s roof cracked in 2013.  As of Tuesday’s meeting, the Commissioners had not received any possible figures from Riley Construction to consider.  Some expressed hope to be able to review these figures next week.

Several of the bidders attended the Commission meeting.  When asked, they said that they weren’t licensed to do the work they do, because they typically work under a general contractor.  The City requires that the process be supervised by someone who is licensed.

Price reiterated that the four items that when out to bid were the start of a bigger process that includes making the facility more handicap accessibility, fixing the wash bay, and other improvements.  It was noted that Precision Electric, who had worked with Commissioners and R&B staff to draft a possible plan of action, did not bid on the electrical service portion of the project.

Front End Wheel Loader Bid Accepted

In a 3-1 vote, the Commission accepted a bid from Foleys for a Caterpillar model 930MHL bucket wheel loader.  Commissioners Price, Jim Gile and Luci Larson voted in favor of accepting the Foley’s bid, of $172,300 as a purchase price, with a $88,500 buy-back price, for the lowest total cost of $83,800.  Commissioner Dave Smith voted against the measure.

Both Smith and Monte Shadwick earlier expressed concerns that rejecting a bid for a Doosan model front end loader on April 12th was not in the best interest of maintaining the integrity of the bid process.  In April, the purchase price of the Doosan loader was $161,585; none of these bids identified a possible buy-back price.

Smith commented that rebidding the loader with a guaranteed buy-back resulted in an immediate (2016) increased price of $11,000.  Price countered that after seven years, the overall costs might be lower, if the County decides to sell the loader back to Foleys.  As discussed at the start of the year, the County could choose to continue to use the loader at R&B, could give the loader to another department, could auction it itself, or it might go with the guaranteed buy-back price and sell it back to Foleys.

The front end wheel loader currently being used by Road & Bridge will go to the Livestock Expo Center.

Speed Reductions Planned

Commissioners voted 4-0 to begin the process of reducing the speed limits on segments of Grand Avenue to 30 mph and of West Water Well Road to 40 mph.  County Engineer Neil Cable was directed to bring his recommendations to the Board at a future meeting.

Voting Machines

Brad Bryant responded to the Board request about leasing Henry Atkin’s voting machines that were demonstrated two weeks ago.  He located a 5 year lease with annual payments of $130,000.  Henry Adkin’s offered a three year payment plan (with a $139,000/year payment) or a four year plan (with a $98,209/year payment).  With these figures, the Board concluded there was little advantage to leasing.

County Clerk Don Merriman said that the anticipated life of these machines is ten years.  There may be additional maintenance agreements.  Merriman said he’d obtained a quote from another vendor, where the system would cost an additional $200,000.  Merriman said a third option had not yet been certified by the election commission.  This topic may come up for further discussion or a vote on Monday, June 6 or Tuesday June 7.

Four Health Department Grants Approved

In 4-0 votes, the Commissioners accepted:

  • A $2,500 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to provide tuberculosis control services to indigent individuals.
  • A $35,000 grant for Maternal Child Health’s Children’s Health Insurance Program to pay some costs of the Becoming a Mom class and to support better county-wide birth outcomes.
  • $8,489 in one-time, redistribution of unused family planning grant monies. These funds will be used to purchase birth control from a “unique to Saline County” list of approved birth control products.  Price commented that the Board “had never been confronted by others” seeking to use products not on the approved list—like intrauterine devices, implants, and some oral contraceptives.
  • $6,132 in redistributed unspent Public Health Emergency Preparedness funds. Health Department Director Jason Tiller said he had been previously informed that the Center for Disease Control, in a plan to fund efforts to combat the mosquito borne Zika virus, has cut local PHEP funding.  Tiller has a list of items he wished to purchase, as this money must be spent by June 30.

In other matters considered:

  • In a 4-0 vote, Commissioners approved a plan for a cloud based phone services from Nex-Tech for $2,118.64 monthly, for a 60 month period. At the Board’s request, Computer Technology Director Brad Bowers queried all departments that use a fax machine; six will continue to need/use faxes but two departments could do without a dedicated line.  The phone service agreement is separate from a wiring agreement that the Building Authority approved earlier in May.  However, before the wiring can begin, the City must come to agreement with Nex-Tech for its phone services.
  • County Administrator Rita Deister explained a career ladder that County Attorney Ellen Mitchell wants to implement. There are five assistant attorneys in the office, who have varying degrees of trial experience and administrative knowledge.  Mitchell wants to use $18,990, set aside for part-time worker(s), to establish the ladder.  Price asked if this might help control turnover.
  • Again, Deister spoke for Mitchell, who was concerned that with five pending homicide trials, she might need to adjust her 2016 budget for trial preparation expenses and delay plans to re-carpet the County Attorney’s offices.
  • Implementation of the State’s new requirements for “concealed carry” in areas of a building will be decided by the Building Authority. County Counselor Mike Montoya will talk with Court Administrator Todd Heitschmidt.
  • Deister reported that May’s sales tax revenue “was not going up” and actually was coming down from amounts collected in 2015. For May 2016, the county collected $403,340 in sales taxes, as compared to $413,298 in 2015; this amounted to a 2.41% decrease.  Year-to-date, in 2016, the county collected $1,965,462; in 2015, the county collected $1,977,723.
  • Received copies of K-State’s Fiscal Considerations and Trends.

The Board decided to meet Monday, June 6 at 8:00 AM to continue work on the 2017 budget.  They also mentioned plans to discuss the voting machines and R&B shop improvements on Monday.  They will also conduct their usual study session and Open Forum on Tuesday, June 7, beginning at 8:30 AM.

Chairman Monte Shadwick was absent.