Pottawatomie County commissioners spent two-plus hours Monday morning touring county facilities.
Commissioners toured the noxious weed department, the county office building, the health department and the basement of the Justice Center to review options for potential capital improvement projects for 2019. They held an abbreviated meeting after the tour.
“I thought our walk-around today was eye-opening in getting a different perspective instead of just looking at something on paper,” said Commission Chairman Travis Altenhofen.
Although there were no decisions made regarding further building improvements, Commissioner Dee McKee reiterated a desire to investigate the cost of a new consolidated office building rather than continuing “patchwork” of older facilities.
“It’s costly in the interim to be doing these intermediate adjustments,” McKee said.
She also expressed continued opposition to investing more money in the courthouse.
“Under the tax lid, there’s no way to invest millions in a building that doesn’t have the needed space,” she said. “Everyone who’s sat in these seats has said the same thing.”
In other business Monday:
• Stephan Metzger, assistant county planner, reviewed the first part of the transportation chapter of the newly-completed comprehensive plan.
Recommendations in the “regulatory changes” portion of the chapter include conducting an annual meeting of all stakeholders in the Highway 24 Corridor Plan; updating KDOT’s functional transportation map — an important tool to determine road design, speed and access; and developing a future thoroughfare map designating locations and types of future roadways in the county in order to preserve right-of-way and plan development effectively.
Metzger will review the “programs” portion of the transportation chapter next week.
• The commission held a brief discussion on the proposed Marlatt-Junietta Bridge, offering an alternative route between southwest Pott County and Manhattan.
The discussion was prompted by a recent study of the issue by students in K-State’s Department of Civil Engineering.
“All we’re trying to do is get the conversation on the table,” McKee said of the proposal. “It’s important to find the opportunities as well as the route.”
Commissioner Pat Weixelman noted there are other bridges in the county which also demand the commission’s attention.
“Don’t forget we’ve got another bridge over by Belvue that’s not going away, plus other bridges in the rural parts of the county,” Weixelman said.
• Dorothy Campbell, in the public comments portion of the agenda, urged commissioners to refrain from referring to the county courthouse as the “old courthouse.”
Using that reference, she said, infers that there is a “new courthouse, and there isn’t.”
The structure should be referred to simply as “the courthouse,” she said.