The Pottawatomie County Commission Monday reviewed capital improvement projects and adopted a resolution enacting building codes within the Blue Township Sewer District.
The county began the fiscal year with $6.56 million in its Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) Fund, and has approved about $1.17 million in projects.
Six pending projects, if approved, would draw the fund down to about $1.85 million, according to figures developed by Administrator Chad Kinsley.
Those six proposed projects and their cost estimates include a new shop facility, $2.06 million; a build-out of the basement of the Justice Center, $820,000; a new scale for the landfill transfer station; remodeling in the County Office Building, $460,000; a vehicle storage facility for the County Office Building, $65,000; and a filing system for the Justice Center, $35,000.
The commission remained uncommitted to the pending projects, but placed a priority on the transfer station scale since the aging scale currently in use is in danger of failure.
The commission is expected to address the scale project at its Monday meeting. Chairman Travis Altenhofen also asked to see figures on how a slight increase in commercial hauler rates to help pay for the scale would impact landfill operations.
The commission also adopted a resolution enacting building codes within the Blue Township Sewer District, effective Jan. 1, 2020, as well as an agreement with the city of Manhattan to conduct code inspections.
The Manhattan City Commission approved the inspection agreement Tuesday.
The county and city, with input from area builders, have been working for more than a year on implementing building codes in the most rapidly-growing portion of the county.
In other business Monday:
• Public Works Director Peter Clark recommended rescinding a 2016 policy allowing an exception to the paved-road requirement along non-primary entrances to new subdivisions.
The exception exposes the county to bearing the entire future cost of paving gravel roadways due to increased traffic from subdivisions, Clark said, using Harvest Road in Blue Township as an example.
“At some point there will be enough traffic dumped onto Harvest Road with no mechanism to pay for it (paving),” he said. “There will be increased pressure on the county commission to pay for the road.”
The commission asked the county planning commission to consider alternatives to the current policy.
• Reece Construction, Salina, was the apparent low bidder to replace a bridge on Calhoun Road. Reece’s bid of $262,280 was higher than the engineer’s estimate of $220,105, leading commissioners to question whether they can legally accept the bid.
Clark said he will review the bids and the cost issue and make a recommendation next week.
Ebert Construction, Wamego, and Bettis Asphalt and Construction, Topeka, also submitted bids for the project.
• The commission voted for a new bridge over Rock Creek on Louisville Road as the project to submit for grant funding under a new cost-share program through the Kansas Department of Transportation.
The new program, which requires a 15% local match, has up to $50 million available for projects that cost more than $1 million, enhance safety and are not eligible for funding under other programs, according to Clark.
Estimated cost of the bridge replacement is between $1 million and $1.5 million, Clark said.
Officials also considered projects for the Belvue Bridge and paving Elm Slough Road from Salzer to K-99 for the grant application.
• Betty Abitz, register of deeds, reported 118 mortgages with an indebtedness of $25.5 million were filed with her office during August, an increase of 23 mortgages over the same period last year.
“We’re doing very well in our county,” Abitz told commissioners.
• Gregg Webster, zoning administrator, reported 21 building permits issued in August, the same number issued during August of 2018.
For the year to date, Webster’s office has issued 143 building permits, 20 fewer than the number issued through August of 2018.
• Steve Minton, Westmoreland, asked Commissioner Pat Weixelman to reiterate a comment made last week: that all he wanted to know from a representative of the Kansas State Historical Society is whether or not the commission has the authority to “demolish the second oldest courthouse in Kansas.”
“That has been my position from day one, if you stop to think about it,” Weixelman replied.
Patrick Zollner, division director of cultural resources for the Kansas State Historical Society, is expected to visit with the commission sometime next month regarding the county’s authority over a structure (such as the courthouse) which has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.