Mitchell County Commissioners July 2, 2018


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The Mitchell County Commissioners met on Monday, July 2.

Director of Public Works Dale Housh was on-hand to discuss the Cawker Causeway guard rail project south of Cawker City along Waconda Lake. A new round of bids have been let for this long awaited project. The first bid letting had resulted in costs that were much higher than anticipated. The original bids came in at over one million dollars. After making engineering and specification changes the project was rebid. The second round produced a winning bid of $586,346. This will involve removing over 1,000 posts and over 5 miles of cable which were installed when the lake was built. They will be replaced with new posts and guard railing.

Housh said a meeting with all involved parties will need to take place before work begins. The roadway will be closed for the duration of the project. A date for work to commence is yet to be determined.

Housh also reported that a bridge near Dr. Kimple’s residence is in need of considerable work. However, there is an AT&T fiber optic cable going across the bridge and Housh anticipates six to eight months before AT&T will get that work done.

According to Housh, the Salt Creek Township may want to relinquish road maintenance of the township to the county. This would require a ballot initiative approved by the voters in the township to relinquish those duties to the county at-large.

EMS Director Eric Hamel addressed the commissioners about debt recovery. Once an EMS debt remains unpaid for a certain length of time, it is referred to a set-off program and a portion of that debt can be recovered through the tax system. However, set-offs are submitted just once a year, and if the debtor does not pay taxes to the county the net collection amount is zero.

Hamel told the commissioners he was checking into various debt collection agencies. It was his opinion that using a collection agency would yield greater recovery of money due than the current system. The group will revisit this situation at a later meeting.

Hamel alerted the commissioners that maintenance contracts were due to be extended with the vendor that services the health monitors in the ambulances. If a monitor is found to be needing repair, they furnish a loaner while the monitor is being remedied. The yearly fee for the maintenance contract on all the monitors is $1,275. The commissioners approved the expense for the service contract.

A long-standing problem with the roof of the ambulance building needs immediate attention according to Hamel. The roof and two side walls continue to allow water into the building. Hamel said he had money in his capital outlay fund to pay for the repairs. The commissioners directed him to have the work completed.

Another water related issue involves water running from the north to the south on the property. At first, the result was a bank of silt piling on the north side of the ambulance building. Now it has created a pathway, and water is running into the building. According to Hamel, Pizza Hut own two acres of land north of the Pizza Hut moving west to Hwy. 14. Hamel said a terrace is needed to redirect the flow of water. The commissioners directed him to contract all impacted parties and work on a solution to the problem.

Brian Streit, Director of Maintenance, presented the commissioners with a bid for repair of all four gutters along the top of the courthouse. There were only two bids for the project.

The commissioners chose a bid submitted by JR and Sons from Concordia as the preferred bid. Their bid was $9,875 which would install a liner inside the current gutter system which would maintain the authentic historical appearance of the building.

Streit also reported that the old interior stairway carpet has been removed and the new carpet has been installed.

Neighborhood Revitalization grants were approved for Russell and Vickie Fincham on a shed with a value of $89,840. Greg Thiessen for a 40’ x 50’ x 10’ garage at a value of $33, 5000. Eugene and Carol Torkelson for a 30’x40’ structure valued at $40, 4000, and Randy and Sandra Budke for a basement and house valued at $206,000.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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