Pottawatomie County public works to be flying high beginning in 2012

By The Mercury

Pottawatomie County may soon have access to LIDAR technology––a public works tool useful for things such as engineering studies, housing developments and road and drainage projects.

LIDAR, an acronym for Light Detection And Ranging, is a state-of-the-art process of contour mapping, using aerial laser pulses to measure distance.

Pott County is scheduled for LIDAR mapping in 2012, in a joint federal and state project, Brenda Krause, GIS director, told Pott County Commissioners Monday.

While the county will ultimately have free access to the LIDAR data, it will have to purchase the software necessary to make it usable, Krause said.

Krause briefed the commission on the coming technology during her monthly department update, in which she reviewed recent aerial photography of the county.

“This has been our life the last few months,” she said. “This is the best aerial photography we’ve ever had, and pretty much all of our maps are up to date right now.”

The GIS Department uses aerial photography to produce maps used in numerous county functions.

Krause also said reminded commissioners the 2011 owner books were completed in July. To date, 140 books have been distributed––primarily to emergency personnel––with about 50 left at a cost to the public of $25 each.

The book contains maps of all land parcels in the county and their owners.

In other business Monday, the commission:

• Accepted the low bid of $507,844 from Manhattan Trenching for sanitary sewer improvements to Unit 1 of Whispering Meadows Subdivision.

Manhattan Trenching was one of 10 firms to submit bids on the project, located in Blue Township near the intersection of Lake Elbo Rd. and Harvest Rd.

• Adopted a resolution acknowledging King Construction as low bidder for replacement of a county bridge on Jim Creek Rd., five miles south and one mile east of Onaga.

The Kansas Department of Transportation administered bids for the project, which has a total construction cost of $373,130. The county’s 20-percent matching share is $78,400.

Leu Lowrey, public works director, anticipates construction to begin in two or three months, with three or four months for completion.

• Heard a monthly department update from Sherri Schuck, county attorney, and office manager Andrea Karnes.

For the month of November, the county attorney’s office filed 20 criminal, 38 traffic, 12 juvenile offenders, eight child in need of care, and one Fish & Game case, according to Karnes.

Year-to-date, the number of cases have increased from last year and include 471 criminal, 473 traffic, 93 juvenile offender, 43 child in need of care, 57 Fish & Game, and 1 care and treatment.

When asked by Commission Chairman Stan Hartwich whether there has been progress in the investigation of several recent arson fires in the Onaga area, Schuck said she could not comment publicly while an investigation is underway.

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