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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Officials discuss debt policy

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  • During its Monday meeting, the Harvey County Commission discussed its debt management policy and imposed a limit on the amount of debt it will take on.
    Kansas statutes limits counties to a debt limit of 3 percent of tangible assessed valuation. The commission voted to put a more stringent limit on itself, voting to maintain general obligation indebtedness not to exceed 82.5 percent of its “statutory capacity.” This will free up money to be reserved for emergencies.
    Assistant County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber proposed to the commissioners that they set the limit at 85 percent. Commission Chair Chip Westfall wanted to keep the limit at 85 percent, while commissioner Randy Hague wanted to set it at 80 percent.
    Commissioner Ron Krehbiel made a motion to split the amount at 82.5 percent. The motion passed 3-0.
    The county’s debt management policy sets comprehensive guidelines for financing capital expenditures. The county’s goal is to “maintain debt management policies that keep outstanding debt within manageable levels and which maintain the county’s debt issuance flexibility,” the form states.
    These policies go over:
    n Conditions for debt issuance
    n Restrictions on debt issuance
    n Debt service limitations on current and future debt
    n Characteristic of debt issuance
    n Debt issuance process.
    In other business:
    n Jim Meier, Harvey County road and bridge superintendent, gave the commission a report on his search for a new engineering firm to be hired by the county. Meier inquired of five firms about their qualifications. He heard back from three firms and from those, he recommended pursuing MKEC, a Wichita engineering firm.
    The county is looking at closing its C&D landfill and MKEC has a lot of experience in environmental work, Meier told the commission. The commission plans to meet with MKEC at its Dec. 9 meeting.
    Poe and Associates, the firm the county had been working with will complete a project it has started — replacement of the North Burmac Bridge.
    The county had been working with Poe and Associates since 2003, but “due to some recent staffing changes within Poe and Associates, this department has realized a significant reduction in that performance and efficiency,” Meier’s letter to the commission stated.
    n The commission voted 3-0 to use $7,500 from the Community Development Block Grant Microloan program to fund Those Blasted Signs, a Newton sign manufacturing business. Of the funds, $2,000 is to be used for equipment and $5,500 is to go to working capital.
    n There will be no county commission meeting next week. The next county commission meeting will be on Dec. 9.

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