Archive for Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If residents approve, roads will be paved…someday

A World War I doughboy statue stands outside the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

A World War I doughboy statue stands outside the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

January 26, 2010

Soon residents on three gravel roads in the county will be asked to donate right of way to allow county crews to start putting down some black top.

But these residents shouldn’t expect to see any road graders any time in the near future.

On Monday, Michael Spickelmier, Leavenworth County Public Works director, told Leavenworth County Commissioners he wanted to get signed affidavits from the residents declaring their willingness to give up their right of way to the county so public works crews can immediately begin to make improvements on the proposed roads as soon as money becomes available. The three roads are 182nd Street from U.S. Highway 24-40 to Evans Road, 171st Street and Gilman Road from County Road 5 to the High Crest Subdivision and Metro Avenue from 150th Street to 158th Street.

“I don’t want to take anybody’s right of way based on a promise,” Spickelmier said. “I’m only going to execute a transfer of prescriptive easement for roadway if I know I have the money in the budget and I’m going to be able to turn their gravel to black top.”

The three proposed road improvements are in the department’s local road participatory program, which are identified by the department as roads with “high traffic counts” and “complete transportation loops that connect existing hard surface roads to one another.” Each road is estimated to cost the county around $459,000.

These three roads were set as the top priorities in its program category because the first section of road to get all of its affidavits turned in would get the first available dollars.

Spickelmier told the commissioners Dempsey Road between 147th and 155th streets was successfully completed with this program in 2009.

“I think Dempsey is a very good exercise in how we can accomplish these goals,” he said. “It was proven that when the residents realized they were a part of the process they definitely took a lot of ownership and were very accommodating to the inconvenience of construction.”

Commissioner John Flower had some worries. He told the other commissioners about letters in the past given to county residents from county departments about work that was promised to be done, but never was. He said he didn’t want to keep doing that.

Spickelmier said the letters sent to the residents asking for the affidavits would clearly address the financial problems the department would be facing and if the road improvements couldn’t be finished that year, a letter indicating that would be sent out to the residents.

For the county’s T-Link projects, the realignment of Kansas Highway 5 was the top priority at an estimated cost of $39.5 million. Improvements to County Road 30 from Dempsey Road to Hollingsworth Road at an estimated cost of more than $6 million was the top priority for the department’s arterial and collector road projects. The remaining section of CR 30 south of Dempsey to Kansas Highway 92 was second on that list with an estimated cost of more than $12.1 million. For intersection improvements, Kansas Highway 7 and Donahoo Road was the top priority with an estimated cost of $31,000. The bridge at Donahoo Road and Country Road 5 was the department’s top priority for replacement with an estimated cost of $3.3 million. And the bridge on County Road 21 just south of Easton is the top priority for rehabilitation with an estimated cost of $10,400.

In other business Monday, the commissioners:

• Unanimously approved $22,000 for computer software and hardware updates for the county’s solid waste department.

• Unanimously passed a board order making The Mirror the county’s official newspaper. The board order came a few days after the commissioners voted, 2-1, to accept The Mirror’s bid — the only bid received — for official county newspaper during Thursday’s meeting. Flower cast the dissenting vote. Also during Thursday’s meeting, David Van Parys, county counselor, told the commissioners he received a bid from the Leavenworth Times a day after the Jan. 14 bid deadline. The Time’s bid included a letter apologizing for the late bid and a request that the commissioners accept the late bid. The board voted, 2-1, to deny acceptance of the late bid. Commissioner Clyde Graeber cast the dissenting vote, stating many people wouldn’t know where to get The Mirror and many elderly people in the county did not have access to the Internet to visit tonganoxiemirror.com. Flower wanted to re-bid the measure, but Heather Morgan, county administrator, said the bid process would not be fair to The Mirror because its bid already was public record.

• Met with other elected officials to establish a monthly elected officials work session in which all elected officials could discuss things in their department.

In other business Thursday, the commissioners:

• Unanimously voted to compose a cease and desist letter for Tinberg Turf in Bonner Springs, until the business owner gets a special use permit to run his business in his home.

• Unanimsouly voted to send a letter to the City of Leavenworth outlining the necessary steps for the city to take out nearly $2 million in bonds in connection with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

• Unanimously approved the waiver of transfer station fees for American Roofing while the company removes debris from the Alliance Against Family Violence building, which was damaged in a fire.

• Met in executive session for 15 minutes to discuss potential litigation along with Van Parys and Morgan. After the executive session, the commissioners unanimously approved a motion to ask Van Parys to get an attorney general’s opinion regarding the state’s Neighborhood Revitalization Act.

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