Salina, KS

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County Talks Shop

KSAL StaffAugust 23, 2016

Bryan Newell, with Riley Construction, told Saline County Commissioners that the wash bay on the west side of the Road and Bridge Shop had “significant issues”.  When flashing was removed, metal panels showed significant deterioration.  He and County Engineer Neal Cable presented Commissioners with several options, ranging from a $30,000 repair to completely re-building the wash bay for $100,000.

As Riley Construction began doing work to replace the wash bay’s floor drain, they removed the flashing.  They found that this section of the building had minimal concrete footing.  The bay lacks a beam; the walls are not load bearing.  The present structure is not wide enough to wash motor graders.

Commissioners instructed Newell to return with specific costs for re-building the bay.  This will be treated as a “change order” and will not require re-bidding.  Commissioners have already accepted bids for replacing overhead doors for the bays.  If Commissioners proceed with re-building the bay, and if they elect to widen the bay, those doors would need to go back and would likely incur a “re-stocking fee”.  Cable said the bid-but-not-installed doors were “an unusual color”.  Commissioner John Price advocated for completing the work before winter arrives.

Septic Tank Inspection Policy

Planning and Zoning Director David Neal presented Commissioners with a draft policy statement surrounding the definition of what qualifies as an “adequate septic system”.  Before a home is sold, realtors are required to secure a septic tank inspection.  If the septic system is functioning but is not appropriately sized, a potential seller must increase the size of the septic system before the home is sold.  Commissioner Dave Smith has received complaints from sellers about this practice.

Components of the proposed policy include:

  • When installed, the septic system had to be sized to code, at the time the home was constructed.
  • There has to have been no change in occupancy. In cases where the home owner has had to replace the septic system, the home owner has perhaps finished a basement or closed in a garage to create extra bedrooms.
  • The system has to be functioning properly. This includes being water tight and not having cracks.  If a fiberglass or “poly” tank is used, it can’t list or bend more than 5 degrees.

Smith questioned how the draft policy was different from current requirements.  Because “cracking” of concrete is fairly prevalent, he repeated his concern that if an owner wanted to sell a house, they may have to replace the septic tank.

Commissioners agreed to add the word “significant”, as in “significant crack” to the policy.  Any significant crack would affect whether the system was water tight.

The public will be able to view the draft policy as part of next week’s agenda.  Commissioners plan to vote on the policy at next week’s Open Forum.

Weekly Update

Last week, Commissioner Luci Larson attended the Airport Authority meeting.  That Board decided to keep its mill levy the same going into the 2017 budget.

Last week, State Representatives JR Claeys and Diana Dierks attended the Committee to Reduce the Jail Population.  Smith had invited Claeys to attend, in the hope that the State Legislature might address mandatory sentencing guidelines.  Smith said that whether those convicted of a crime serve time in either the County jail or a State prison, it “still costs money”.  Smith frequently questions why non-violent individuals who pose a minimum risk to society are locked up in jail/prison.

Smith speculated that some homeless individuals intentionally seek to be held in jail, especially on days when the temperature is 100 degrees, and they are sleeping under a bridge, are bothered by mosquitos and may have unattended health needs.  Commissioner Jim Gile said that he thought 4-8 individuals in jail were homeless.  Gile commented that a “phenomenal” number of individuals who may be sentenced to serve multiple “48 hour” prison stays as part of a conviction for some offenses, such as driving under the influence for the third time.

Smith reviewed the general description of individuals who had recently been booked into the jail and identified the charges on arrest.  Three individuals were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Four were charged with drug violations.  Four were charged with probation violations, two were charged with “failure to appear”, and one was picked up on charges related to an outside warrant.  Price asked, “Why don’t we impound the car and sell it?”  Smith suggested getting out the “old fashioned whipping post”.

Chairman Monte Shadwick commented that “it was helpful that” Claeys and Dierks both attended the meeting.  Gile said, “They both listened.”

Commissioners also:

  • Approved a right-of-way vacation involving Coronado Heights Road, involving property owners Steve Bloomberg and Ronald Heimer. The agreement was made binding to all heirs, administrators and assignees.
  • Learned that 32 properties in the county might appear to be commercial properties but are assessed as residential properties because the owners store personal items in those properties. Price estimated that because a lower property tax rate applies to residential properties, this is currently impacting County revenues by $70,000.  Price predicted that many more individuals will go to the Appraiser to have their personal storage buildings assessed as residential property.
  • Learned that R&B purchased a pneumatic roller for $37,500 at a sale of State owned equipment last week; the roller will help smooth road beds.
  • Signed the 2017 budget for the district court.
  • Signed an agreement with the Central Kansas Foundation, as part of Community Corrections’ behavioral health grant.
  • Planned to televise the discussion on home health care at next week’s meeting. This topic may take more than an hour to present and discuss.
  • Decided to make one more attempt to personally contact an individual in Ellsworth County who requested that a well inspection be done but has since failed to pay the $300 fee. If this does not produce payment, the County may file suit to recover the money.
  • Proclaimed September as National Recovery Month.
  • Heard a report from Livestock and Expo Center Director Rick Lamer.

Commissioners held one, ten minute executive session.

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