Jail

Construction in the new jail addition that will house the sheriff’s department is moving along faster than anticipated.

County Administrator Brad Homman said the updated construction schedule shows a mid-October competition date for the new administrative portion of the jail.

“That would help tremendously to get them moved in, get phones and computers hooked up,” Homman told commissioners during the June 18 meeting.

“That’s one office we won’t have to deal with when we move out of this (courthouse) for the renovations,” he continued.

All courthouse offices will be moved temporarily to other locations in mid-November so the courthouse can be renovated and remodeled. The courthouse renovations are phase 2 of the construction project with phase one being building the new jail addition.

Plans are to move Dickinson County District Court to Sterl Hall while offices that see a large amount of customers — like county clerk treasurer, register of deeds and others — will relocate to the Abilene Civic Center.

Construction

Masons were laying block inside and brick on the outside of the jail and work was progressing on the pod area. Crews were working on ductwork inside and sprinkler systems were waiting for approval by the fire marshal, Homman said.

Structural steel for the administrative portion of the jail — under construction south of the new jail — was installed last week and sheeting was being placed on the roof.

On the north side, crews were backfilling the footings and floors were expected to be poured on both the sheriff’s department and booking area this week.

Cottage Street, located on the north side of the courthouse, had been cleared off and swept to allow trucks access to the elevator during harvest.

“There will still be times when we will need to block portions of it (Cottage) off for short periods of time, but they (construction crews) will make sure there’s access for trucks to get through there to the ADM mill,” Homman said.

A rooftop HVAC unit that will serve the basement and main floor of the courthouse will be ordered now so it can be set into place on the administrative part of the sheriff’s department so roofers will not have to come back later and work around it.

“It will be cheaper in the long run,” Homman explained, noting the unit is actually in phase 2 plans, but the “efficiency factor makes it much smarter to do it now and get it in place now so it’s already been taken care of,” he said.

Plans for the project also included placing screens on the roof to hide rooftop HVAC units from view; however, planners decided to wait on that for now because the screens are fairly expensive.

After the units are all installed, Homman told commissioners they could look at it and decide whether screens are needed or not.

“We don’t want to spend the money unless it’s absolutely warranted,” he said.

Other

• County officials plan to purchase a video camera for road and bridge equipment and a new AED (automated external defibrillator) for the courthouse using money from a $2,000 KCAMP (Kansas County Association Multi-line Pool) risk avoidance grant.

The rear-view cameras are placed in equipment so operators do not have to turn and kink their necks when backing up so they can tell what is behind them.

“We had one truck years ago where the operator back up over the front end of a pickup that was too close to him,” Homman said.

As for the defibrillator, it will replace an outdated model.

The cost for the video camera and AED unit will be around $2,009. If KCAMP approves, the county will only have to pay $9 out of pocket.

• The county received a copy of an interlocal agreement from the City of Enterprise seeking to adopt the Neighborhood Revitalization program. Homman said commissioners would be asked to take action on the agreement during the June 25 meeting.

• Commissioners approved a resolution establishing fees for judges and clerks for elections and mileage for the supervising judge.

• Commissioner Craig Chamberlin noted the townships have the budget authority to take care of their roads, not the county. He has received a number of phone calls about the condition of township roads over the past 1½ months.

“I appreciate people who run for township positions. It doesn’t pay very much and they get a lot of heat for it,” Chamberlin said, explaining the township officers need to address the various issues.

•Commissioner Ron Roller encouraged people in the county — particularly in the Woodbine area — to fill out the census.

• Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson said the commission is in the process of discussing the 2021 budget and “ratcheting things down in a responsible way as much as possible.” The proposed budget will be published in July and approved in August.

Contact Kathy Hageman at reporter@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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