Recent high water events have forced the Harvey County Road and Bridge Department to change its approach — and expedited the need — regarding work on a project to restore the western bank of the Little Arkansas River and preserve West Park Road near the northern entrance of West Park (off of NW 36th Street).
Originally, as reported to the Harvey County Commission at Monday's meeting, the plan was to keep much of the work on the project in-house and use an excavator to get down towards the river and help build up the bank — but erosion from high water events has made that work along West Park Road extremely difficult.
"Without compromising the road as it exists now, that in itself was going to be quite a feat," said Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Meier.
Changing gears, the department is now seeking a bid for a contractor to use a crane to place rip-rap (loose rock) to help restore the bank from an elevated position on West Park Road. Plans are already in place to hire Harshman Construction to haul the necessary rip-rap from Florence to the work site.
Additional work in the bid request on top of the placement of 700 tons of rip-rap would entail the excavation of a toe-wall in the channel and restoration of a 10-foot shoulder to West Park Road (to match what currently exists). Meier noted the project, as described, has already received the proper clearance — and it is estimated to progress more rapidly with the amended approach.
"Sitting here right now, I can tell you that time-wise the crane will accomplish this in a week," Meier said. "We'll be saving time."
Questions were raised on if the project changes limit the bids that could be received, but Meier said that won't be known until the bids go out. However, he did note that there are already two local companies interested, which is a big deal in November for a project the county wants completed by Dec. 22, 2018.
The commission approved the request for bids, to be received in the administrator's office by 4 p.m. Nov. 16 and opened in the regular commission meeting scheduled for Nov. 19.
In other business, the county commission:
Started to plan for the quad county meeting Harvey County will be hosting Dec. 10 while also inquiring about the courthouse Christmas celebration, which it was noted has been scheduled for Dec. 3.
Heard from Greg Nickel during citizen's forum, who appreciated the genial attitude from the county commission while running for a seat, which he called a privilege.
Approved a grant application for the Harvey County Transportation for $186,421 in funding for Fiscal Year 2020, authorizing administration to sign grant documents and a letter of financial commitment.
Received a report on the most recent board meeting of the Harvey County Economic Development Council, which had Steven Wilkinson of the South Central Kansas Economic Development District talking about all the programs the organization offers to Harvey County. It was noted that weatherization is not one of those services, but with changes at the state level that might be something the commission could look to bring under the SCKEDD banner once again.
Learned that a couple of properties listed for the upcoming tax sale were recently paid off, leaving a total of 11 properties still up for sale from an original roster of 35 — and more anticipated to be paid off before the date of the sale.
Addressed the idea of finding someone to replace commissioner Chip Westfall on the board of canvassers, as he is currently up for re-election. North Newton Mayor Ron Braun was brought up as a potential replacement, and fellow commissioners Randy Hague and Ron Krehbiel gave consensus for County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber to reach out and see if Braun would be willing to serve.
Was informed of subdivision regulations (which have to be built on within five years of being platted, or else re-platted and/or vacated) in regards to the Kisiwa Acres Subdivision, with the commission informed that more will be coming to them on that development down the road.
Heard a report on the Regional Economic Area Partnership of South Central Kansas summit that took place last week, with both Swartzendruber and Westfall noting a lot was reviewed in terms of regional policy and a resolution was proposed to shape development in the region and brought before the commission to consider.
Received a report from Sheriff Chad Gay on monthly totals for October, with the detention center averaging 116 inmates and a total of 245 bookings recorded while the sheriff's office pulled 133 cases for the month, made 478 traffic stops, issued 110 tickets, made 48 arrests and responded to 13 non-injury accidents, six injury accidents, 11 deer accidents and one fatality accident.
Was informed by county clerk Rick Piepho that 2,523 citizens have turned out for early voting — up by 1,000 from the previous midterm election and a 63 percent voter turnout is expected in this election.
Approved Resolution 2018-19, appointing Della Rowley as county appraiser for Harvey County, while also approving an appointment agreement for Rowley to fill an unexpired term commencing Nov. 5, 2018, and continuing through April 30, 2019.
Heard a report on the third quarter financials for Harvey County, with the county in "good shape" as revenues are slightly ahead of expectations and expenditures are on pace with years past.