After allowing administration and Solid Waste staff to review bids received last week, the Harvey County Commission discussed how to move forward with a timely repair project at the transfer station (where residential trash is screened and recycled before being transported to Reno County) during Monday's meeting.

The review process was two-fold, as it was intended to vet the bids (with which staff had no issues) and analyze the best project timeline — since bidders were asked to submit estimated lengths for both a phased and a non-phased repair project for the transfer station floor.

Currently being short-staffed, Solid Waste Superintendent Rollin Schmidt recommended that a complete shutdown of the transfer station would be the best way to proceed and allow for the repairs (to help improve sorting/loading capabilities) to be done in one fell swoop — not in two phases. That would require the county entities that haul to the transfer station to go directly to Hutchinson during the time of the repairs, which Schmidt admitted he would still recommended even if the county proceeded with a phased process.

While Schmidt said most haulers exhibited a willingness to transport directly to Hutchinson during the repair period, administration noted in correspondence with the city of Newton some concerns were brought to light. It was stated, through email, that the longest shutdown Newton could accommodate would be Wednesday through Sunday — five days. Also, city staff brought up concerns about putting their trucks on the road to Reno County.

"They don't feel like their trucks are reliable," County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber said.

Of the four bids received, the shortest continuous repair timeline was 10 days, but concerns were raised by the commissioners on what impact that would have on the city of Newton if the transfer station were shut down for that long.

Commissioner Randy Hague suggested going with the phased repair option (which would add two days on the shortest timeline submitted) and first addressing the front portion of the transfer station floor to make it more fully operational quicker — and have less of an impact on the hauler schedule. While other options were pitched (like bringing in additional haulers), there was some sentiment that an non-phased repair timeline would still be the best route to pursue.

"I'd like to get it done with impacting the city as little as possible," Hague said.

"This is something that's gotta be done and we may have to bend over a little bit and the city may have to, too," said commissioner Ron Krehbiel.

Swartzendruber said the exact timeline has not been sorted out yet because the commission had not officially awarded the bid, and that's all the action administration was looking for in order to proceed with the repair project. The exact details, he noted, can be discussed more fully once a bidder is officially under contract.

Harvey County Commissioners approved the low bid ($58,890) received by Snodgrass & Sons, allowing administration to sign the contracts and for staff to make it functional and have further discussion about the best timeline for the repair project.

"If it's done in two sections, that's fine; if it's done in one, that's fine," Westfall said. "It's just gotta get done, folks."

In other business, the county commission:

Heard a report from commission chair Chip Westfall on the Kansas Association of Counties Government Day that was held last week in Topeka. Westfall noted the atmosphere seemed "warmer" between both parties this year and pointed out some legislation to be wary of, including a couple of items regarding 911 services and emergency vehicle operations.
Submitted RSVPs for the annual Conservation District dinner coming up on Feb. 18.
Signed off on the Parks Advisory Board by-laws approved last week.
Received a report from the Greater Wichita Partnership, which highlighted the economic developments in Harvey County regarding Park Aerospace and Weatherly Aircraft among other regional efforts.
Was presented with a legislative update outside of Westfall's report that also highlighted other items to be wary of that could impact local government, including bills that could significantly change worker's compensation coverage.
Learned that the Department on Aging's Martin Luther King service projected collected triple of what it did in its first year during its most recent service project this past weekend.
Heard updates on a couple chases involving the Harvey County Sheriff's Office from the weekend and it was noted no officers or other parties involved were injured in the incidents.
Was updated on the most recent tax foreclosure sale by county counselor Greg Nye, who noted the payment on one house was in excess of the amount of taxes owed and a separate hearing will be held to determine who receives the additional funds. Another check payment bounced on a house that had been removed from the sale and Nye said that will be added back in and attempts to sell that off will likely be made in March.
Received a report on drug forfeitures from the sheriff's office, including total value of items collected (though it was noted most vehicles were returned in 2018, having third parties involved in most cases) and expenditures — with the majority going towards rifle plates and vehicles for the drug task force. It was also pointed out that $10,000 of the 2019 forfeiture funds have already been earmarked to help with the purchase of the Bearcat for the Harvey County Emergency Response Team.
Approved the lone bid received (at a total cost of $27,506) from Shawnee Mission Ford for a 2019 three-quarter ton Ford F-250 crew cab for the Solid Waste Department.