Logistics regarding some annual contracts was an emphasis at the Harvey County Commission meeting on Monday, which included the following highlights:
1) Restructuring of 800 MHZ radio maintenance contract
Communications Director Don Gruver approached the county commission to discuss a new maintenance contract for the 800 MHZ radio system, as there have been some issues in working with Motorola — namely regarding responsiveness in addressing repairs or other work to do with the radio system.
With the contract set to renew in mid-April, Gruver said now is the time to look at other options. He has been in discussion with Mobile Radio Services to provide coverage for the county (including Network Monitoring, Dispatch and repairs). Currently, Mobile Radio Services handles those tasks on behalf of Motorola.
"There the one's that have been doing it anyways. Motorola is just adding their icing on the cake there," Gruver said. "This cuts out the middle man."
Going directly through Mobile Radio Services, while also factoring in SUA-II software updates, Gruver said the county would save about $40,000 in 2018.
In seeking out a new maintenance contract, Gruver did note the intent was to keep paying Motorola for infrastructure repair and advanced replacement coverage (in the case of a lightning strike that might disable the system and require major equipment repairs), which could cost $10,125 in 2018.
However, commissioners questioned if such replacement costs would not be covered under insurance. While there was some uncertainty on that point (as well as questions regarding expediency), the commission also wanted to know if the IRAR contract with Motorola could be cancelled at anytime if it comes to find out the county's insurance coverage would be sufficient.
"I don't want to spend $10,000 on something we don't really need if we can just pay as we go," said commission chair Randy Hague.
For the time being, the commission approved the new Mobile Radio Service contract for maintenance and the SUA-II software update program, while waiting to receive more information from Gruver on the specifics of the IRAR agreement before moving forward with that contract.
2) Annual changes of valuation reported
Change of value notices were required to be sent out to landowners in the county by March 1, and county appraiser Craig Clough reported to the county on that process being completed Monday — along with the standard 30 days from the mail date landowners have to appeal said valuations.
Given that most questions regarding changes in valuation can be handled without an appeal hearing, Clough noted the appraiser's office has set up a separate phone line (283-8347) to address any questions from landowners regarding those issues.
Overall, Clough noted valuation across the county was up two percent. Residential property values mirrored that overall trend exactly, while rural residential values went up a little more (four percent) on average. Commercial property values stayed relatively flat, while agricultural land use values were up about five percent.
While that agricultural land change is the highest, Clough was quick to point out that it was the smallest increase compared to surrounding counties — which ranged from a seven percent increase in Marion, McPherson and Reno counties to a 14 percent increase in Butler County.
3) Stocking approved for Camp Hawk
Reviewing the annual fish stocking requests before they were sent out to bid, Parks Director Kass Miller noted the figures remained the same, with one exception — Camp Hawk was added to the list of sites to stock in 2017.
Miller noted three types of fish (bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass) were recommended to be stocked at Camp Hawk, now that necessary repairs have been made to the pond. Starting out, he said he would like to begin be stocking the pond at Camp Hawk with bluegill and then add the other two types of fish on the second stocking date (in May).
While the pond has not filled up yet, Miller said he is hoping for more rain in the spring to help it, but as with all of the parks there is a stipulation that stocking may be cancelled if the water levels are too low (with 10 days advance notice to be provided). The commission approved the request for bids to stock fish at all three county parks this year.
In other business, the county commission:
Was updated on the results of a recent meeting held that brought together both Workforce I and IV to discuss provision of joint services to the county (i.e. specialty training, local representation). County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber noted a draft agreement should be brought to the commission for consideration prior to April 1.
Received notification of two events the Harvey County Economic Development Council is taking part in if the commission has interest in attending, including the Newton High School CTE's Building Bridges event on March 8 and a tour the EDC will be taking of the Wichita State University Innovation Campus on March 13.
Heard updates on legislation regarding collection of internet sales tax in Kansas, as well as ways to support Medicaid expansion in Kansas, which last week was outlined as a priority this session by the Harvey County Council of Governments.
Approved a bid from Kranz Motors for a three-quarter ton pick-up for the Solid Waste Department at a cost of $28,118 (the lowest of three bids received).
Approved proceeding with a request for bids for three UTVs for the Parks and Solid Waste departments.
Approved proceeding with a request for bids for a compact wheel loader for the Road and Bridge department.
Approved Resolution 2018-8 authorizing the sale of surplus Road and Bridge equipment.
Approved a contract for the Noxious Weed department to treat the Interstate right-of-way for weeds on behalf of the state.
Was made aware of the severe fire danger watch the county is currently under.
Learned of a potential request to build below a high hazard watershed dam in the county from Planning and Zoning Director Gina Bell.
Received an update on the restoration project of the Camp Hawk shelter building, with Miller noting all windows have been ordered and the department is now working on painting and ordering tables and chairs for the building.