County looking to improve snow, ice treatment

Saturday, February 8, 2014

As winter continues to drag on, and the county's salt supply becomes depleted, Bourbon County Roads and Bridges Director Jim Harris is shopping around for a better prices on material.

He also is checking prices of switching to a different mixture to pretreat hard surface roads.

Harris told the Bourbon County Commissioners Friday the county will be receiving more salt within the next week, but he is looking at options when the contract with the supplier in Lyons expires.

When asked about the cost of salt, Harris said he didn't want to say because it fluctuates.

"I'm looking at getting costs and should have something to report to you next week," Harris said. "If we can make it better -- there's a lot of room for improvement."

He said he also is getting prices on a brine mixture, similar to that used by the state, which would be used to treat the roads before ice or snow arrives. While the cost for the mixture won't be a lot, Harris said the county would have to purchase equipment. But that also means the county would have to purchase a brine system, and he said he's getting estimates on that, too.

Warren said after driving to Fort Scott from Bronson Monday, he said he believes pretreating the roads is a better process.

"Once that ice gets on there, there's very little you can do," Harris said. "We're working on things to make it better."

Albright said she received "a number of calls" from a resident who said it appeared Jayhawk Road had not been treated beyond 240th Street.

"Sometimes it appears that way, Barbara, but traffic generates heat," Harris said, adding that there is less traffic beyond 240th Street.

He also said that portion was not treated the first time the crew went through, but it was treated the next time.

* Warren suggested that the county begin documenting all of its culverts with a Global Positioning System, then include that information on the Geographic Information System. The county would then have a record of each culvert and would be able to develop a replacement plan for the older culverts.

"We decided two years ago to do this and bought the cameras two years ago," Warren said.

One camera was purchased for the culvert crew and the other for the sign crew so that signs also could be inventoried. Photographs would be taken of the back of the signs where labels would be placed.

* Commissioners, Sheriff Bill Martin and County Attorney Terri Johnson met with Bill Hurd regarding his concern about hearing loud explosives coming from a residence near his property east of Fort Scott. Hurd said it is a safety issue because one day he was nearly trampled by his cattle that got spooked from the noise.

"Everybody's cattle takes off," Hurd said. "Somebody's going to get hurt."

He said the noise does not last into the late evening, but at times into the early evening.

The county does not have any regulations regarding firearms or blasting.

"The only thing that could be addressed concerning that type of activity would be disorderly conduct," Martin said. "In order for it to be disorderly conduct, there has to be a breach of peace. But you also have to identify that individual that's doing it."

He also said if there is a group of five people, one of those has to be identified as the individual doing the blasting and it is not likely anyone in the group would point to that person.

"The witness has to actually see that person committing the crime," Martin said.

He said the family involved does have a firearms dealer license.

Hurd said the last time the blasting has occurred was the last weekend of good weather.

"It will rattle your windows," he said.

He said typically the blasts are occurring during the day and sometimes early evening, but never late at night.

"You could pass something," Johnson said. "You can't pass something to eliminate firearms, but you can regulate and it would apply countywide."

Commissioners said blasting is done at night at the county's quarries.

Martin said one of his deputies could go speak to the family and ask them to be considerate of their neighbors. Warren suggested Martin be the one to speak to them.

* Commissioners also talked to Hurd about a flooding issue in a resident's yard in the 1700 area of Cavalry Road. Albright said the resident is getting water from two directions. Hurd agreed to join Albright and Harris when they meet with the resident.

Harris said it appears some work has been done in the area, but some of the water is coming from the railroad property.

Hurd said he also has seen a bean field flood because an old rock culvert has collapsed beneath one of the county's roads.

* The commissioners held a 15-minute public hearing before voting to close a one-mile section of Eagle Road along the James Keller and Michael Shay properties.

* Commissioners met with Terry Sercer of Diehl, Banwart, Bolton CPAs, PA of Fort Scott and County Treasurer Rhonda Dunn to review the carry-overs from the 2013 budget. The commissioners agreed to not transfer any carry over from the Landfill fund because, before the unexpected revenue from the April hail storm, the fund was not supporting itself as it should. Warren said the commissioners may have to increase landfill prices in the future.

Harris said an old hopper needs to be replaced and a new building is needed at the landfill.

In December, commissioners stated they would transfer 12.5 percent of any carry overs to create a new equipment replacement fund, which would provide money for anything other than computers. There already is a fund for computer equipment replacement.

The remaining carryover will go to capital improvements.

On Friday, the commissioners agreed to transfer from $245,000 from Road and Bridges; $63,000 from Special Bridges; $98,000 from the General Fund.

* Dunn reported there were 284 names on the list for delinquent taxes, but after 59 property owners have responded and other have been "culled," there will be 79 properties going on the auction block.

Dunn said $36,346.21 has been collected and because of those collections and others being removed from the list for various reasons, the county has saved $31,775. That money would have been spent on legal and abstract fees.

A definite date has not been set for the next sale.