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'Not too pleased'; County commissioners express concern about Verizon Wireless contractors installing conduit without a permit.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Laurie Sisk/Tribune photo Workers with KW Underground, a contractor for Verizon Wireless, install lines of conduit near Poplar Road on 205th Street on Monday afternoon. After calls from residents concerned about damage to their properties, Bourbon County commissioners discovered that proper permits are not in place for all the work being done in that area.
Bourbon County Commissioners were visibly upset on Monday after recently discovering that contractors for Verizon Wireless were installing buried conduit without a permit along Poplar Road between 205th and 235th streets.

"I'm not saying we are rant-raving, jumping hot, but we are not too pleased right now," Commissioner Harold Coleman told Renald Eden, construction manager for KW Underground, a contractor for Verizon.

Commissioners last week had received complaints from area residents saying that the work in some places was damaging driveways, leaving ruts to the point where one resident needed a four-wheel drive vehicle to leave their home.

Commissioners also expressed concern about how the project would affect road maintenance if the work was not being done to code.

Eden told commissioners he was told by his subcontractors that all the permits were in order.

"I had some misinformation," Eden said. "I would not have done it this way had I known."

There is some work being done by Verizon near that area that already has permits, which Commission Chairman Harold Coleman said might be adding to the confusion. Eden took a permit application from the commissioners and will be joining Coleman today to view the areas in question.

County Treasurer Susan Quick updated the commission on 2008 and 2009 delinquent taxes. Quick said there were 195 properties with unpaid real estate/mineral taxes from 2008, totaling $113,954.04 and 387 parcels in 2009 (including commercial properties) totaling $191,367.13. It was noted that the 195 parcels in 2008 was included with the 387 in 2009.

Commissioners made a motion to make an order that the parcels be sold.

"As far as the taxpayers are concerned, they have had multiple opportunities to pay these taxes," Commissioner Allen Warren said.

County Attorney Terri Johnson complimented commissioners on their willingness to address a tax sale quickly.

"Time is of the essence," Johnson said. "We need to get started on this."

The commissioners will be taking quotes from title companies' services for the sale.

Also on Monday, Tom Graham, 665 195th St., near Lake Fort Scott, requested a fence viewing for his property which abuts city property leased to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for hunting. Graham expressed a concern for safety as a reason for the fence viewing. Graham joins Marti Tuchsherer and Dave Stewart as the most recent residents to request fence viewings.

Commissioners are trying to work out a plan where they could complete all three in one day. The panel ruled last week that Lane Cutler and the city of Fort Scott must share in the cost of fencing between their properties.

In other business on Monday, David Camp questioned the amount of gravel being produced from the two quarries in the county. Camp contended the county last year produced about 150,000 tons and said this year they have produced only 50,000 tons.

"The year's not over with, my friend," Warren told Camp.

Commissioners also expressed skepticism about Camp's numbers.

"I don't believe that to be that accurate," Coleman said.

Commissioners also noted that one quarry was not operating for a month during reclamation. They added that a third quarry would be in the best interests of the county, but an appropriate site has yet to be found.

"The game plan is to perfect our operations in the two quarries and then potentially look into a third quarry in the county," Warren said. "We have to walk before we can run."

The quarries save the county about $2 per ton off the cost of gravel. Rocks that are crushed at the quarries cost about $3.50 per ton to produce, while buying gravel costs the county about $5.50 per ton.

Commissioners said they would look into about how much gravel has been put on roads this year to give more accurate numbers for Camp.

Camp expressed concerns that not enough gravel was being brought to the roads in the southern portion of the county.

During last Friday's meeting Warren noted that last year, the county received $9,747 for salvaged scrap metal. So far this year, commissioners report they have taken in $12,281.

Commissioners also announced that work at the low water bridge at 225th Street and Valley Road was complete. Rogers and Sons presented their bill for $82,400.

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