By TIM HORAN
At a short Dickinson County Commission meeting Thursday, the commissioners started preparations for a longer meeting to take place later this month.
Newly sworn in commissioners Lynn Peterson and Craig Chamberlin are planning to join Chairman LaVerne Myers and County Administrator Brad Homman on a tour of the county’s facilities.
The tour is expected to start at the courthouse, tour emergency medical services, the health department, the shooting range, landfill and end up at the emergency medical services in Herington.
“I had lived here all my life but I didn’t know about the EMS facility at Herington or the shooting range. It’s (range) a nice facility,” Myers said, referring to the benefit of taking the tour.
The county applied for a Watershed Restoration and Protections Strategies (WRAPS) grant.
“The maximum amount is $50,000. We’ve been very fortunate to get the maximum amount in years past but the word is, they are cutting back,” Homman said in his report to the commission. “If we get anything, we’ll be thankful, but we may have to make some tough decisions on that position if we don’t get that grant money. But that remains to be seen. Obviously, the WRAPS program is very beneficial to the county. We might have to see if we can come up with funding or how much we want to put into that if funding is cut back.
“Our county program is looked upon by many organizations as being the icon as far as good programs,” he added. “It has been good for years. They have done a super job.”
The program is used to safeguard and preserve natural resources of water. The county works with schools to teach kids how precious water is and how to preserve it. It holds the water festival every year for elementary students to teach them about water. It also works with local residents to provide and support best management practice training and support for issues dealing with water.
Homman also said the county had 96 tons of scrap metal which was sold at $160 a ton, giving the county $15,000. The money will go into the county’s general fund.
Work on the 1100 Avenue Bridge has begun, Homman said.
The county approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation to install electronic arms and flashing lights at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing at 200 Avenue and Rain Road.
Homann said the $180,663 railroad crossing project will be funded 100 percent by federal funds. The county must provide and maintain approach signs, which the county already does. The road would not have to be closed during the installation process.
The county commission also:
• approved the hiring of two employees in the health department. Those are positions where employees will be leaving county employment. Myers said that because the county is officially in a hiring freeze, all employee positions must be approved by the commission.
• approved the consent agenda which included the minutes of the Jan. 24 meeting, payroll of $237,654.65, added tax of $109.30 and abatements of $36,153.42.