May 21, 2020 2:12 AM

County OKs proposal for road safety plan agreement

Posted May 21, 2020 2:12 AM

Saline County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement that is expected to help enhance the safety of county roads.

Commissioners approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for the preparation of a local road safety plan through the state's High Risk Rural Roads program. The plan will serve as a guide for the Road and Bridge Department to improve safety on the roads in Saline County, according to information provided by the county. Saline County will only be responsible for 10 percent of the cost of the project, which amounts to $5,280.98, the county noted.

During the Tuesday meeting, commissioners also gave Rural Fire District No. 1 permission to apply for a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation to provide funding for the purchase of an outdoor warning siren. If purchased, the siren would be placed in Kipp, which currently does not have a siren, the county information noted. Rural Fire District No. 1 has spearheaded this project and has obtained donated funds from Great Plains Manufacturing to aid in the purchase of the siren, according to the county information.

Other business from Tuesday's Saline County Commission meeting includes the following, according to information provided by the county.

•Commissioners appointed Casey Morgan to the Board of Trustees for Rural Fire District No. 2. His term will be for three years, ending Dec. 31, 2022, at which time he will be up for re-appointment.

•Marilyn Leamer, human resources director, provided an update to commissioners. She noted the updates and modifications that were made to policies and the county’s health plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also noted that the requirement for employees to have their annual physicals was extended to Aug. 31. Additionally, Leamer highlighted the vacant positions for which Saline County is hiring.

•Rick Lamer, expo center director, told commissioners that since March 12, a total of 68 events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that some events are scheduled in June but those will be contingent on the advancement to the different phases in the governor’s re-opening plan. Additionally, expo and weed staff have been busy with chemical sales and the application of chemicals on the county road right-of-ways.

•Commissioners also heard a variety of funding requests from allocation agencies including the following.

Kim Norwood from the Tri-Rivers Fair Board asked commissioners for additional funds to help support the cost of an entertainment/concert event at the 2021 Tri-Rivers Fair. Last year Saline County allocated $20,000 for the TriRivers Fair.

Sheila Nelson-Stout from OCCK provided a brief overview of the many programs that OCCK provides. She noted that OCCK will be entering its 50th year of operation. OCCK is not asking for additional allocation of funds in 2021. Last year, Saline County allocated $207,900 for OCCK.

Emily Benedick from the North Central Regional Planning Commission spoke to commissioners about their many different programs that offer assistance to agencies and citizens in Saline County. Saline County has been a member of the

regional planning commission since 1972. Dues are $4,000 for the county and Benedick asked the commissioners for their continued involvement in the organization.

•During his weekly update, County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes told commissioners that the 911 advisory group met last week to discuss the Emergency Radio Communications Project. They reviewed the scores from the evaluation of the request for proposals and the oral presentation of the vendors. The scores were close and it was determined that another meeting will occur next week to determine a recommendation to be brought to the governing bodies.

Additionally, Smith-Hanes reported that the Kansas Department of Commerce announced $9 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding that is available for cities and counties to apply for in response to COVID-19. Cities and counties can apply for these funds to aid local businesses within those communities. Saline County will be applying. The application process does require a public hearing, which will be scheduled for next week.

During announcements, Commission Chair Robert Vidricksen discussed the teleconference that county, city, and community leaders had with U.S. Senator Jerry Moran last week. Each agency was able to speak to Moran about what was occurring in the county and express any concerns or needs to him.

Additionally, County Clerk Jamie Doss had several announcements regarding elections and voting. June 1 at noon is the filing deadline for anyone wishing to run for office. June 1 at noon also is the deadline for individual voters to claim their political party to be able to vote in the August 2020 primary election.

Doss said her office is sending out a mailer to all active voters in Saline County. The mailer will include information concerning voting, voter registration, and requesting an advanced ballot for both the primary election in August and the general election in November. For voters who are not comfortable with physically going to a polling place, advanced ballots are a great option, she noted. For voter registration and election questions, contact the county clerk’s office at 309-5820.

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May 21, 2020 2:12 AM
UPDATE: Bridge repair in McPherson County to begin Wednesday

UPDATE: KDOT has updated the information concerning this project. It is now scheduled to begin on Wednesday and traffic will move through one 13-foot lane in each direction.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin a twin bridge repair of the northbound and southbound bridges located on Kansas Highway 61 (K-61) over Blaze Fork Creek in McPherson County on Wednesday.

The bridges are located approximately one-half mile south of the K-61/Comanche Road intersection, just south of Groveland.

Traffic will be reduced to one 13-foot lane in each direction through the work zone. Drivers should expect minor delays, not exceeding five minutes.

PCI Roads, LLC of Saint Michael, Minn., is the prime contractor for this $314,000 project. The contractor has scheduled this project to be completed by August, weather permitting.

KDOT urges all motorists to be alert and obey the warning signs when approaching and driving through a work zone.