After Monday's Harvey County Commission meeting, commissioners took a short road trip down to 12th Street and Halstead Road to celebrate the culmination of a project involving a partnership between the county government and private citizens.

County officials and cycling enthusiasts watched workers install a new bicycle safety sign designed to remind motorists that by law, they must give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing them on the road.

The ReNewton Bicycling Initiative group came up with the idea for the project. About 70 signs will be placed alongside county roads, and the signs will be 30 inches by 30 inches in size. Community members raised the funds for the signs, contributing about $1,400.

Other business

At their meeting Monday, commissioners also reviewed bids for the replacement of the county's current phone and voicemail system.

Anthony Swartzendruber, assistant administrator and finance director for the county, previously reported the current system was nearing the end of its useful life, and he believed it would be more cost-effective to purchase a new system rather than to keep making repairs to the old one.

Commissioners voted to award the project to the low bidder, Inside Connection Communications, for $24,285. About $30,000 originally had been budgeted for the project.

Commissioners also said they liked the fact the low bidder for the project offered lower hourly rates for technical support and programming than the other bidder on the project.

Swartzendruber also presented a year end fiscal report, informing commissioners how the county fared financially in 2012. He said the county's assessed valuation is on the rise again, after experiencing a drop from 2009 to 2010 due to the economy.

According to initial unaudited figures, the county took in about $8.5 million in tax revenue. Some of the county's largest expenditures were personnel at $6.1 million, and public safety at $5.5 million.

Swartzendruber said the county was able to save money due to lower than anticipated utility and fuel costs, and staff also worked to reduce overtime expenses.