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Pottawatomie County to discuss security

By The Mercury

Pottawatomie County commissioners will hold a work session with department heads soon to hear input on the state’s new law regarding concealed weapons in public buildings.

Commissioners tentatively set the session for 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, but first wanted to make sure all department heads were available.

In a preliminary meeting last week, county counselor John Watt said department heads expressed several concerns over the new law, which would allow persons who are properly licensed to carry concealed weapons in county buildings.

Those concerns included the county office building and its multiple entrances; election nights when some county officials work late; and a possible emergency in a county building when most sheriff’s deputies are patrolling in the southern portion of the county.

“In some cases it may take 15 or 20 minutes to get an officer here,” Watt said.

The concealed carry law took effect earlier this year, but Pott County––like many municipalities across the state––sought and received an exemption until Jan. 1. An additional four-year exemption is available to municipalities which complete a building assessment and produce a security plan for those buildings, according to Watt.

“In an ideal world, if you want the four-year exemption you have to have it (building assessment and security plan) ready to go January 1. The exemption can be requested at any time, but you must do the work before you make the request.”

The first step in making that determination is to meet with department heads, Watt said.

“Hear what they have to say and you’re going to have some decisions to make after that,” he said. “It’s going to be up to you if you want to go that route or not.”

In other business Monday, the commission:

• Accepted the low bid from Bennington State Bank, Wamego, for $1.1 million in temporary notes to finance internal improvements to Unit 2 Nelson’s Ridge Subdivision.

Bennington’s bid was an interest rate of .59 percent with a total interest cost of $6,490.

Initially, Bennington and St. Marys State Bank both submitted identical bids of .64 percent and an interest cost of $7,040, leaving the commission three options: flip a coin; split the notes; or reject both bids and ask the banks to resubmit bids.

The commission chose the final option, giving the two banks one hour to submit new bids. The St. Marys bank did not submit a second bid.

• Approved Scott Schwinn’s recommendation to hold a Fall Free Day Saturday, October 5, at the county landfill.

• Presented Betty Abitz with a certificate recognizing 20 years of service in the register of deeds office.

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