Riley County commissioners Thursday approved a memorandum of understanding for the new Riley County Police Department’s firing range.

The MOU establishes responsibilities for the development of the range for TRS Range Services, the company that is completing the project.

“It’s so that company will have a comfort level beginning the design process, so we get this thing moving,” said Clancy Holeman, county counselor and director of administrative services.

Holeman said it will take about 30 to 45 days for TRS Range Services, based in Eagle, Idaho, to complete design plans.

“We’re going as fast as we can,” Holeman said. “See what happens.”

In October, the commission visited the 170-acre range, which is near Zeandale and Tabor Valley roads.

Riley County purchased the property in July for $374,000 from Tarkio CD Disposal.

In other action Thursday, commissioners:

  • Decided not to change the county’s holiday schedule policy. County offices will not be open on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Offices close at noon on Christmas Eve this year. Commissioner John Ford advocated for giving county officials half the day off on New Year’s Eve due to Kansas State University’s football team taking on Navy in the Liberty Bowl that afternoon. Ultimately, the county decided not to do that.
  • Approved increasing the 2019 county budget by 22%. The county approved increasing the budget by $10.7 million, which includes 13 total amendments. The adopted 2019 budget totaled $48.8 million, and the commission approved increasing the budget to $59.5 million. The commission held a public hearing, but no one from the public spoke. Tami Robison, budget and finance officer, said the county’s mill levy is unaffected by the approved budget. The commission annually adjusts the budget at the end of every year.
  • Approved a policy change to the county’s pay scale. A hiring official can consider previous years of “direct, relevant experience” when looking at the level of paid leave within the county’s payroll system for an incoming employee.
  • Discussed expenditures of local officials, in response to an article published in The Mercury from Sunday. Commissioner Marvin Rodriguez said it would cost the county more money if the county supplied vehicles for officials to use. Officials use their own personal cars to travel, Rodriguez said.
  • Talked about the cleanup at Main Road near White Canyon. Rodriguez said a Randolph city commissioner appreciated Riley County for cleaning up the road.

“We knew we needed to do that, but we had to wait for the water to recede,” Rodriguez said. “We couldn’t do anything about it.”

Rodriguez said he told the commissioner, whom he did not identify, that Riley County is continuing to explore options to help White Canyon residents. The county’s public works department cleaned debris from the road Friday.

Held an executive session for preliminary discussions about acquisition of real property to talk about an initial offer or purchase. The commission did not take any binding action following the executive session.