County news

Construction work on the new Dickinson County jail is continuing, although most of the progress being made is underground.

Dickinson County Administrator Brad Homman told commissioners on Thursday that storm drains all have been installed and are ready to be connected to the storm drain system and contractors are working with sanitary sewer lines to get them “underground and stubbed up,” he said.

The garage doors on the east side of the building have been removed and the area enclosed. Contractors now are working to get a floor installed. The former garage space was used by the sheriff’s department. When the new jail/courthouse remodeling project is finished the new space will be the location of the new commission meeting/conference room.

Homman said he’s also working on preliminary plans to move courthouse offices out of the building when it comes time to remodel the existing courthouse.

“We’re continuing in conversation with the architect about square footage requirements when we relocate and what that will look like as we get closer to the approximate time,” Homman said.

The courthouse remodel will begin after the new jail is built or nearly complete.

Homman intends to form a committee comprised of representatives from each department who will provide input about what each department will need during the temporary relocation.

“I know what the court’s function is, obviously, I kind of know what they need, but I don’t know what exactly would or wouldn’t work for them. So as an example, I’d like to have somebody from district court, Cindy (MacDonald, clerk of the court) or whoever, sit on a committee with me and look at potential spaces and whether they’ll suffice for the period of time that we relocate.”

Sales tax

With one more month of sales tax collections to come in before the end of the budget year, yearly collections are running higher than at the same time in 2018.

So far in 2019, the county has received $1,138,038.08 in sales tax — an increase of $47,396,48 over the $1,090,641.60 received by the same time last year.

The county received $109,359.46 for September 2019 sales tax collections and will receive collections for the month of October before the end of the year.

Dickinson County also receives a special half-cent sales tax that only can be used for road and bridge projects.

Just like the regular sales tax collections, 2019 R & B collections are higher than at the same time in 2018.

With the September 2019 collections the county received a total of $1,098,726.04 in 2019, up from $1,051,213.91 by September of 2018.

Collections from October 2019 are yet to come in.

Sales tax collected in November and December always is reflected in the following year’s totals. Thus, 2019 totals include taxes collected in November/December 2018.

Businesses have until the 25th of the following month to send in their sales tax reports and money and the Kansas Department of Revenue has until the following month to distribute the money.

Agency on Aging appointment

The commission approved the appointment of Michael Rutz of Enterprise to serve as the Dickinson County representative to the North Central–Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging. The agency serves 18 counties, including Dickinson.

Rutz visited with the commission before they approved his appointment, explaining why he was interested in serving on the agency on aging board. Rutz said he worked with the organization in recent years on behalf of his parents and now, as a recent retiree, it’s something he is interested in.

Rutz said he’s looking forward to working with Dickinson County Extension’s new Adult Development and Aging agent, a new position beginning in January.

Commissioner Craig Chamberlin said he had been contacted by the area agency on aging’s executive director who offered to provide services for Dickinson County in lieu of the county creating a new extension job. Chamberlin said that while the agency on aging is a good “umbrella,” he didn’t feel it could devote the time needed to serve Dickinson County residents.

“I said it’s not enough. We’ve got an aging population,” Chamberlin explained. “I said I’d rather spend money with wages we’re going to pay there (for an Extension agent) for what we need done in Dickinson County.”

Enacting resolution

• The commission approved a resolution authorizing the imposition of the special half-cent countywide retail sales tax for bridge and roadway construction and improvements.

County voters approved the half-cent percent sales tax for Road and Bridge projects during the November General Election.

The vote allows the extension of the sales tax for a 10-year period.

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

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

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