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Rodriguez Wells, sworn in

By Stephanie Casanova

Riley County elected officials were sworn in Monday morning.

The commission chambers were more crowded than usual, with about 20 people there to watch elected officials take their oath.

Marvin Rodriguez was accompanied by his wife, who held a bible for him as he took his oath for District 2 commissioner. Rodriguez took his seat at the front of the room after being sworn in.

Ron Wells, District 3 county commissioner; Rich Vargo, county clerk; Shilo Heger, treasurer; Debra Regester, register of deeds; and Barry Wilkerson, county attorney were all sworn in to their positions during the meeting.

The commission voted to designate Wells as chairman for the year and designated Rodriguez vice-chairman of the board.

Also at the Monday meeting, the board authorized public works to work on three bridges and five culverts in 2017 as part of the tax program for roads and bridges.

In 2012, voters approved a second 10-year half-cent sales tax for road and bridge projects in the county after a 10-year half cent sales tax program approved in 2002 ended.

Leon Hobson, Public Works director and county engineer, showed the commissioners photos of the deck and underside of the bridges and said they’re deteriorating.

The photos showed cracks and rust under some of the bridges and patches on the deck of one bridge on Fancy Creek Road. The other two bridges that will be repaired are on Stockdale Park Road and on Anderson Avenue. “When you start seeing a lot of issues on the bottom side as well as the top side then you know you have issues,” Hobson said. With the commissioner’s approval Monday, the Public Works Department will start to find consultants for the design and construction of the bridge repairs.

The estimated total cost for the Anderson Avenue bridge is $1,050,000. The Stockdale Park Road bridge is expected to cost $927,400 and the Fancy Creek Road bridge is expected to cost $1,231,800.

The funds are all available in the road and bridge half cent sales tax fund.

“Just use your judgement, if you have the funding to do it,” said Commissioner Ron Wells.

The five culverts approved for repair are along Sherman Road, Fancy Creek Road, Peach Grove Road, Kitten Creek Road and Vinton School Road.

The design for the Sherman Road culvert is expected to cost $12,000 with construction costs estimated at $70,000. Fancy Creek Road cost estimates are $15,000 for design and $77,000 for construction.

The Peach Grove Road culvert is also expected to cost $15,000 for design and $83,000 for construction. The Kitten Creek Road design cost is estimated at $40,000 and construction cost is estimated at $101,000. The Vinton School Road design is expected to cost $35,000 with construction costs at $143,000. Tami Robinson, county budget & finance officer, said presented projected balances and expenditures to the commissioners through 2022.

The fund is expected to have an ending cash balance of $3,267,000 in 2022. Robinson said the commissioners could continue to use that money after 2022 as long as it is used for road and bridge projects.

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