The county bridge and road department was recognized at the Dickinson County Commission meeting Thursday. The crew includes (back) Dan Scanlan, Jerry Showalter, Jesse Widler, David Anguiano, Scott Huff, Elmer Adolph, Marc Anguiano, Jason Stroda, Duane Beltz, Dan Buchanan, Andy Buechman and Dee Greenough. Front Kenneth Kamhi, road and bridge supervisor Martin Tannahill, Curtis Rider and Billy Hemmy. Not pictured is Jon Anguiano.
Commissioners are Sheila Biggs, Chairman LaVerne Meyers and Commissioner Joe Nold. (
By TIM HORAN
Members of the county bridge and road department were finally given a pat on the back Thursday.
The Dickinson County Commission had planned on presenting the crew a certificate for a job well done way back on Dec. 20. But two inches of snow accompanied by high winds that morning postponed the appreciation ceremony until the next regularly scheduled meeting which was Thursday.
But the county crew was not yet finished dealing with snow and ice when a storm hit New Year’s Eve.
“On New Year’s Eve we went to our storm response plan and split the crew,” said Dickinson County Administrator Brad Homman.
Crews worked 12-hour shifts to keep the roads and bridges passable.
“They all did a very good job,” he said.
Homman said the county used 330 tons of salt which was about what it used all of last winter season.
“That was the first time in 11 years we had anyone work on a holiday,” Homman said. “The guys had no complaints. They stepped up and did what they needed to do. We appreciate the dedication. I am not aware of any major accidents.”
Homman said there were a few minor breakdowns in equipment. The new equipment did well. It was the
older trucks that had some hydraulic problems.
“Nothing major. Typical,” he said. “That’s tough on a truck chassis when you hang a plow on and push snow. Probably one of the harder things that they do.”
All 18 members of the bridge and road crew were presented certificates and were individually recognized at the meeting.
“We wanted to show our appreciation to the road and bridge department in the county,” Chairman LaVerne Myers said. “We feel like we have one of the top ones anywhere. The work you have done this past year was exceptional. We had a lot of bridges built and roads chip-sealed and patched. We wanted to make sure you knew we really appreciate all the work you have done.”
In his report to the commission, Homman said that there were 1,670 EMS calls last year, down 200 from 2011. He also said the number of accidents and rural fire calls have decreased
“Especially rural fires,” he said. “In talking with the rural fire departments we haven’t had as many fire calls this summer which is good.”
“I’m really proud we got the fire marshals involved,” Myers said. “I think getting signs out in the rural areas, people realize if they are going to start a fire they have to call in. If somebody calls and sees a fire they (the fire department) know what’s going on.”
“The changes we made with the fire chiefs and the changes we made with the controlled burning has worked extremely well,” Homman said.
Last year the county commissioners gave the authority to the local fire chiefs to determine if burning should be allowed in their jurisdictions or not. That chief informs dispatch who tells the caller if they can burn or not. It is then posted on the county website where you can see which areas of the county are in a “restricted burning” area.
Now the chiefs can restrict burning without any formal action from the county commission. Previously, the commission was required to place the whole county in a burn ban and then could not cancel it until the next meeting.
“The problems we encountered were that if they did a ban on Thursday and we got rain on the north half of the county on Saturday, then the ban was still in effect until the next Thursday when the commissioners met,” Homman explained.
“Then, if only part of the county got moisture, it was hard to determine if the ban should be in place because of the dry part of the county, or not,” he said. “The new way allows for each part of the county (fire districts) to have their own conditions and alleviates all the problems. It seems to have worked very well.
“I have not had any complaints. Not one,” Homman said. “It’s all been very positive. That’s unusual when you make a change.”
“It shows that local control works best,” Myers said.
It was also announced at the meeting that the swearing in ceremony for commissioners-elect Craig Chamberlin and Lynn Peterson will be at noon, Jan. 14. A reception for outgoing commissioners Sheila Biggs and Joe Nold will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. in the courthouse basement that Monday.
Chamberlin and Peterson will also be attending orientation in Topeka on Jan. 16 and 17 thus no meeting will be held that Thursday.
The county commission also approved the consent agenda and a contract to provide law enforcement with the City of Hope at a cost of $26,624.80. The consent agenda included the minutes of the Dec. 20 work session and meeting, $6,774.80 in wire transfers, payroll of $225,698.18, abatements totaling $549.28. and added tax of $232.50.