Jail update

Although masons are still in short supply, walls are still being built at the new Dickinson County jail.

“Things are going — albeit slowly,” said Dickinson County Administrator Brad Homman during Thursday’s county commission meeting. He presented the update from the bi-weekly jail construction meeting.

Homman said the crane, which could be heard operating outside the courthouse, was moving structural steel into place so ceiling material could be installed.

“Once they get that crane out of the way, they’ll come in here and form the circle driveway and get that poured posthaste. Then our concrete work for the most part will be done,” he said.

“The sidewalk and driveway on the east side are done and look really good,” Homman added. “I knew it was very wise to switch to concrete.”

Earlier this month, the county submitted a change order to build concrete parking lots rather than asphalt over gravel as originally planned. Concrete has about a 40-year lifespan, compared to asphalt that lasts only about 10 years, according to information stated during the earlier meeting.

Evidence lockers for the new jail are arriving, painters are expected to finish up soon in the “pod” area and the technology to control the cells, lights, televisions and other electronics should be arriving soon.

“Things continue to move forward and the weather has been good for it,” Homman said. “Our masons are the only thing holding us up, but we’re working through it and things are going okay.”

Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson said the commission heard about some of the bids coming in for phase 2 of the construction project during work session. The second phase involves extensive remodeling of the courthouse.

“We’ve been very fortunate that for many bids there were multiple bidders. That gives you good comparisons and good numbers,” Peterson said.

After the meeting, Homman said the bid total was slightly over budget, but several line item bids need to be clarified before the final total is determined.

 

Other

• County Counselor Doug Thompson has prepared a quitclaim deed for the extension office so the county-owned building can be sold to the newly-created Chisholm Trail Extension District No. 1 in January.

Homman said he notified extension staff so they would have time to get insurance and transfer utilities. County staff also worked on the alarm system at the extension office and placed a drop box on the building since it currently is closed due to COVID-19 guidelines established by K-State Research and Extension.

• Peterson said commissioners had received letters/emails of support from several people expressing support for the mask order; letters asking specific questions including requirements for businesses involving employees who were in non-public spaces; and questions regarding how churches will be impacted.

He also received a communication from an Abilene realtor who said she does not support the mask mandate because she is worried about the negative impact on business.

“I think we will continue to get some of these comments on both sides,” Peterson said.

• Peterson said Chuck Scott, Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation executive director, updated commissioners during work session. Scott indicated there would be announcements “forthcoming on some possible projects,” Peterson said, explaining confidentiality is important, but the announcements should “give us some words of encouragement economically.”           

 • Commissioner Ron Roller talked about the consent agenda and said they study information on the agenda before approving it.

The consent agenda includes items that do not need any discussion or debate because they are routine procedural decisions. However, if a commissioner has a question about any item on the consent agenda, it can be moved to the regular agenda.

Roller said commissioners have the information on the agenda four to five days in advance.

“We get the chance to review the expenses and things in the county. We’re not just grabbing numbers and saying that’s okay,” Roller said.

• Roller said the county is receiving phone calls about the facemask order and said he appreciates the positive attitude of the people calling who want to do their part.

“We all understand it’s not a comfortable thing for any of us to wear and have, but we all need to do something,” Roller said. “Just hang in there with us. We’ll get through this.”

• Commissioners approved the appointment of Gary G.P. Floyd to the Flint Hills Trail Advisory Council.

• Voted to allow Peterson to sign payroll this week. The commission will not meet due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

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

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

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