The Riley County Commission on Thursday approved the purchase of a tornado siren to replace the existing siren in University Park.
Emergency Management Director Pat Collins said he also hopes to replace sirens in Keats and Leonardville in the near future, but the University Park siren is a priority.
“That one’s been the most problematic,” Collins said.
Collins had approached the commission about the purchase last fall, but the commission decided to wait until after the new year to approve the purchase unless the siren, which is still operational, failed completely.
Budget and Finance Officer Johnette Shepek said the county’s budget and planning committee will give an update in March on this and other projects that had been tabled last year.
However, the commission did not want to wait for the siren, because waiting too long would put installation too late into tornado season.
Collins said that the siren should be installed 60 to 90 days after ordering.
REGISTER OF DEEDS
The commission and Register of Deeds Debbie Regester discussed proposed state legislation to eliminate the mortgage registration fee and how the county could recoup the lost revenue if the Kansas Legislature does approve the bill.
Regester said the most likely path to regain the revenue from the fee, which makes more than $1 million for the county annually, would probably be to raise recording fees for deeds.
“That’s going to be the main focus,” Regester said.
She said the Kansas Register of Deeds Association is reviewing options for counties in the event the fee is eliminated.
More than two-thirds of the money made from the mortgage registration fee goes into the county’s general fund and typically pays for functions like land appraisal and zoning.