County still seeking storage space
Scheduled renovations for the basement of the Leavenworth County Justice Center continued to stall Monday as county officials struggled again to find a permanent storage solution for 1st Judicial District Court files currently stored there.
Impeding a new kitchen and trusty area for the Leavenworth County Jail are more than 1,000-square-feet of District Court files that have no place to go.
In previous meetings, county commissioners explored such options as gutting the old jail, which is adjacent to the Justice Center, to create a storage facility, as well as building or leasing property off-site to house the materials.
By Kansas Supreme Court mandate, the District Court is required to retain records within the past 10 years or longer, Court Administrator Steve Crossland said.
Although the court has begun scanning all documents from 2007, the only state-approved form of replication is microfilm, so even if the files were made into a digital format, physical records would still need to be retained, he said.
Commissioner Clyde Graeber asked court representatives if ample space were provided in a building near the Justice Center, would that fulfill their requirement.
Chief District Judge David King told the commission that with only one file clerk working, it is necessary to have most recent files stored on-site in the Justice Center, as the clerk receives constant requests for court files.
"The problem is ... if they (the files) are off-site, there's no one there to help people in the file office," King said.
"We're not trying to stand in the way of the trusty area," he later added. "But please don't do it at the expense of our department's operations."
Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson said requests for proposals for a 6,500-square-foot building were recently sent to places in downtown Leavenworth, Tonganoxie and Lansing to try to find a new home for county documents and equipment being stored at the Abernathy Building in Leavenworth, which is to be vacated by the end of October.
Sheriff David Zoellner offered to relinquish approximately 150-square-feet of space in the Justice Center, where protective clothing for his department is currently stored, but also told the commission, "We don't have an abundance of space."
Also, Leavenworth Police Chief Lee Doehring, who said he was scheduled to petition the Leavenworth City Commission on Tuesday for additional storage space behind Fire Station No. 1 on 20th Street, told King and the county commission he was open to relocating some of his department's materials elsewhere and was "willing to take a proposal back to the city commissioners."
Despite a discussion lasting more than an hour, no action was taken Monday.
Tellefson emphasized, though, "We want to get this thing done."
"The best thing to do is wait for some of these proposals to (come back)," Graeber said.
In other business Monday, the commission:
- Discussed progress on County Road 1 leading to the proposed interchange with Interstate 70.
"I was hoping we'd have a time and date for the meeting with KTA and KDOT," Tellefson said.
That meeting was not scheduled until Tuesday and is set for 8 a.m. today, Sept. 20.
Instead, commissioners discussed moving ahead with requests for proposals for planning and wastewater consulting services.
Graeber asked whether the commission should wait for Lathrop & Gage representatives to finish a development plan before proceeding, but Planning and Zoning Director Chris Dunn said a planning consultant's analysis could coincide with work done by the legal consultants.
County Counselor David Van Parys said he would meet with Dunn and Lathrop & Gage to get the RFP's ready to be sent out.
- Reviewed floor plans for a new, north Emergency Medical Services station to be at 16th Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Leavenworth.
Tellefson expressed his consent for the plans, telling EMS Director Jamie Miller, "We're happy with it ... if your people are happy."
The most recent cost estimate for the station was $982,000.
As for a timeline, the commission chairman said he would like to have a foundation laid by November.
"Now that we're on the right track, we can get a timeline," Miller said.
In business, Thursday, the commission:
- Began preliminary talks regarding a bond issue for large-scale county projects.
The first step, Van Parys said, "is to decide what projects would be funded by it. You have to have an identifiable project," he added.
In previous meetings, commissioners had mentioned the possibility of using bonds to finance portions of the County Road 1 improvement project and to pay for a communications upgrade for emergency service providers in the county.
"We need to get our arms around this thing," Graeber said, adding that a meeting to discuss a bond sale would be approaching in the coming weeks.
- Met executive sessions totaling 38 minutes to discuss property acquisition, potential litigation and personnel.
- Voted, 2-0, with Commissioner Dean Oroke abstaining, to extend Special Buildings Director Tim Goetz a staff letter appointment for one year at a salary of $61,732.