County news

With the precautions being taken to prevent COVID-19, Dickinson County Commissioners last week learned they had more time on their hands.

“To sum it up, all your meetings have been cancelled or postponed,” County Administrator Brad Homman said at the March 19 meeting.

Those events included a regional highway meeting, county commission conference and the county’s annual meeting for all township officers.

Also canceled is the annual tax foreclosure sale that had been set for March 30.

Although many meetings had been cancelled, Homman said dealing with COVID-19 was a challenge, especially for county Health Department Director John Hultgren, Emergency Management Director Chancy Smith and himself, consuming about 95 percent of their days.

“It’s consumed all our time lately. We’ve had numerous web meetings and conferences with the state department of health, emergency management and one with the 12 other counties in our region sharing what’s going on,” Homman said.

“We’re keeping everyone in the same loop because what happens here affects our neighbors and vice versa.”

Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson said commissioners met with several department heads during work session so everyone knew what was going on.

“We want people to be safe and be considerate of the neighbors,” Peterson said.

Remote monitor

The pump at the Talmage sewer lift station recently had some issues and the remote monitoring system alerted Paul Froelich, Enterprise Public Works director, who takes care of the situation.

Thanks to the alert, problems were averted.

“It illustrates why we have remote monitoring equipment that lets us know ahead of time,” Homman said.


• Commissioner Craig Chamberlin explained how bridgework was progressing on the fish passage bridges county crews are constructing.

Homman said it should not take more than two weeks of work, but crews had until May 1 to finish before the Topeka Shiner minnow’s spawning season.

May 12 meeting

During the commission’s May 12 meeting they approved purchasing a replacement copier for the Appraiser’s office. They accepted the low bid from Image Quest of Salina for $7,092.60, which also includes a maintenance agreement. The expenditure was planned in the county’s capital plan.


• The commission accepted the low bid of $30,975 from Holm Automotive, Abilene, for the planned replacement of a pickup to be used by the road and bridge crew foreman. The vehicle does not include the bed because a “utility” bed was going to be installed by a Manhattan vendor. The Holm bid was one of four received.

• The county will purchase asphalt for roadwork from APAC-Shears for the quoted price of $52.60 a ton. That amount is the same as it has been the last three years, Homman said.

“$52.60 a ton for the amount of overlay we do equates to a little over a million dollars, but we’re getting it at a good price,” Homman said.

• A new employee has been hired to replace Environmental Services Director Randy Barten who soon will retire. The new person is working in a similar position in Reno County and currently is scheduled to start March 30.

• The health department is applying for $110,976 in grants from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The commission approved the application.

Contact Kathy Hageman at

Contact Tim Horan at

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