Although COVID-19 has been a main topic of conversation at Dickinson County Commission meetings in recent weeks, other business has been con-ducted.
For one, county staff has been working on a right of way agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation to determine which entity is in charge of maintenance when a county road abuts a state highway—more specifi-cally, the interstate.
“Where we got segments of road where KDOT does not maintain them and we don’t technically maintain up to the bridge,” explained County Adminis-trator Brad Homman. “So we’re trying to work out an agreement that spells out that line of demarcation.”
In recent years, Dickinson County has been doing road overlay at several lo-cations where KDOT was not doing the maintenance, including the Fair Road overpass by the Love’s Travel Stop and the Solomon overpass.
“Years ago, their attitude was we don’t want you in our right of way, we’ll take care of it, but when they decided they could get by without doing it and it was a cost they didn’t have to pay, they said you can get on our right of way and do it,” Homman recounted.
Initially the county was reluctant to do that, but soon realized maintenance would not get done unless the county did it.
“This is a project that’s been in the works for more than a decade,” he said, speaking of the agreement. He will update the commission with more in-formation later.
Flint Hills Trail
• The commission learned that Dave Jones of Herington, who has been serv-ing as the county’s representative on the Flint Hills Trail Committee for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, is resigning. His family is moving out of the area.
Homman said he would visit with Brandon Dross, Herington city manager, to get input about a possible replacement, but he and Commissioner Ron Roller also have heard of several possible candidates.
The trailhead starts in Herington, but most of the trail is not in Dickinson County.
However, the way the committee was set up, each county where the trail is located has two representatives: One appointed by the county commission; the other from the county seat authority or, in this case, Abilene.
“Abilene doesn’t have anything to do with it, but Abilene is the appointing authority,” Homman said, which is why the county prefers to appoint someone from the Herington area.
• The commission approved a $32,438 Kansas Department of Emergency Management Operation Center grant to purchase a fiber optic switch and furniture for the emergency operation center. The money from the State of Kansas’ CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security) Act.
• Commissioners approved a $8,739 grant from the Center for Technical and Civil Rights geared to support the election process. The county will use that money, along with some SPARKS (Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas) funds, to purchase a portable digital sign to display election mes-sages.
• Abilene attorney Mark Guilfoyle will finish out the contract year on the county’s court-appointed attorney list, according to County Counselor Doug Thompson.
Guilfoyle is replacing Jeff Ebel who won the primary to serve as Saline County attorney. Thompson said he has been covering for Ebel and some of the other attorneys who had been appointed. Guilfoyle’s contract began Oct. 1.
• The commission renewed the Solomon Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for an additional 10 years until 2030. The initial NRP was approved in 2010. The program provides tax incentives for people who want to improve their property.
* Commissioners approved the low bid of $29,950 to purchase a belly dump trailer from Chuck Henry Sales in Solomon. The trailer allows county road and bridge crews to transport twice as much rock per trip as opposed to sending regular dump trucks to the quarry.
• The commission approved a $41,200 purchase of investigative equipment — a contraband detection device — for the sheriff’s department using for-feiture money taken from drug offenders. The asset forfeiture account cur-rently has a balance of a little less than $200,000.
Commissioners also authorized the sheriff’s department to negotiate the purchase of a vehicle not to exceed $16,000 to replace one damaged by an offender. Homman said the funds are coming from insurance monies through KCAMP.
Contact Kathy Hageman at email@example.com.