Mitchell County Commissioners – January 30, 2017 (AUDIO)

The Mitchell County Commissioners met on Monday. The group discussed potential upgrades to the exterior of the courthouse. Commissioner Tom Claussen said he met with a representative of the Kansas Historical Society last week. He received more information which will require the county to rebid the job with different stipulations needed to meet the historical society requirements to be eligible for an 80/20 matching grant with the county providing 20 percent of the funds. This includes what materials must be used to perform the work as well as processes and materials may not be used.

Director of Public Works Larry Emerson appeared to present bridge inspections and proposals from Schwab-Eaton. The contract for engineering fees for the bridge inspections this year are $35,545. Stuart Porter of Schwab-Eaton said the state is now requiring photos of inspected bridges be submitted every other inspection cycle. Bridges are inspected every two years unless they are considered “fracture critical” in which case they are inspected annually. Fracture critical does not mean the bridge is in danger of collapse. It simply refers to the manner in how the bridge is constructed and supported by the girder or bracing system it uses. The commissioners approved the contracts for bridge inspections for 2017.

The commissioners also had an update on the upcoming federal project which will upgrade the causeway over Waconda Lake at Cawker City. There have been changes and inconsistencies in the proposed work scope. Particularly, the type of guard rail which would be used between the option of metal “W” rails or steel cables. The commissioners and Emerson agreed that they will ask the project manager to come here from Colorado to look over the project scope in person. The plan is for work to begin after harvest in July.

Emerson also presented funds transfers through the federal funds exchange where money is filtered through the state which allows more options for eligible projects which could be completed using those funds. The commissioners moved to transfer $200,000 from Road and Bridge to the Special Machinery and Equipment Fund as well as $280,000 from the Road and Bridge Fund to the Road and Bridge Capital Improvement fund.

Beloit City Administrator Jason Rabe said the East Main Project in Beloit is starting this week. The expected completion date has been pushed into July. The initial hope was to have the project finished by Memorial Day weekend, but delays in the start of the project due to preliminary work on gas lines took longer than expected.

An 20 minute executive session was held for attorney client privilege for discussions with Emerson, Karm Princ, Dale Housh, Clerk Chris Treaster, County Attorney Mark Noah and the commissioners. No decisions were made as a result of the session.

The commissioners then discussed other fund transfers with Clerk Treaster out of a total available $656,677 from the General Fund. Not all of the money will be transferred out of the General Fund to allow for a suitable cash balance to carry forward into the next fiscal year. Some of the funds will go to Courthouse Renovation in the amount of $100,000. They also transferred $50,000 to the Courthouse Technology Fund.

The commissioners are next scheduled to meet on Monday, February 6 at 8:30 a.m. at the Mitchell County Courthouse in Beloit.