Revisiting an item brought up during a citizen's forum at last week's meeting was one of several transportation-related items addressed by the Harvey County Commission on Tuesday, including the following three highlights:
1) Stopping to look both ways
Darlington Township clerk Leo Stahly made the commission aware of a visibility issue —and requested a potential stop sign placement — at the intersection of Meridian Avenue and SW 96th Street recently, and county administrator Anthony Swartzendruber noted this week that has, in fact, been on the county's radar for some time.
"To the extent that we can do something there, we will," Swartzendruber said.
Obstruction at the aforementioned intersection is due to work on private property, as land owners were developing a pond. The dirt mound that was built up from that work in turn grew weeds, which has led to the visibility issues at the intersection.
Swartzendruber said Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Meier sent out a letter (in April) to property owners about the issues at that intersection. The intent is to reach out once again now that the item has come before the commission and see if the owners have a plan or the county needs to get involved in some way.
"All of the dirt is on private property, but it is significantly inhibiting visibility," Meier said.
2) Looking forward to the future
There were also questions raised by the commission over the status of Hesston Road and whether the Kansas Department of Transportation has done a study (traffic count) on it, which may in turn led to some monetary assistance in any road improvement projects the county tackles there.
Meier stated he was looking at all funding sources possible.
"If we could get some money out of the state for that project, that would help," said commissioner Randy Hague.
3) Taking the regional approach
With a Council of Governments meeting coming up this week, the commission once again also addressed potential talking points of a Legislative transportation task force meeting that will be held Oct. 4 in Newton. — as entities wanting to speak need to be placed on the agenda in advance.
Each community will be bringing concerns forward at the council meeting, according to Swartzendruber. He also asked the commissioners if there were any specific items they wanted to bring up to the task force — with some ideas already in mind like rail expansion, keeping the 90/10 reimbursement split for federal funds and more financial support for bridge projects.
"It would be nice if we had additional funds for rural bridges," Swartzendruber said.
Commissioners were hopeful that the state and KDOT don't push a tax increase forward, but if that is the case that they would then properly divvy up those revenues.
In other business, the county commission:
Was informed of Future Foam's efforts to expand business operation in Newton — including the planned addition of a 77,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
Learned of a grant recently awarded to the Healthy Harvey Drug Free Community Coalition, which grants the organization $625,000 in funding through the first five years and has the potential to be renewed for an additional five years.
Heard an update from county counselor Greg Nye on an old tax foreclosure (Wheatridge) that is being reopened with a new foreclosure sale date slated for Sept. 27.
Retained commission chair Randy Hague as KCAMP voting delegate and county clerk Rick Piepho as his alternate.
Was notified of current efforts being made through the local board of health to turn Hesston College into a tobacco-free campus.
Approved an easement relocation agreement — to impede the location and traffic as little as possible — and temporary workspace permit for Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company to replace a portion of its pipeline that runs under First Street near Harvey County East Park. The work will impact some farmland, but it was noted that Panhandle Eastern is offering to reimburse said farmland owners for crop damages due to this work.