Monday March 2nd Mitchell County Commissioners Meeting


Mitchell County Commissioners


Monday, March 2, 2020


By Terry Bailey



The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their regular weekly meeting at the Courthouse Monday morning. Commissioners Jim Marshall and Tom Claussen were present as was the County Clerk Chris Treaster. Commissioner Mike Cooper was not present because of bereavement purposes. Also present was Cassie Homan, Extension Horticulture agent, to observe the operation of a County Commissioners meeting.


Dale Housh, Superintendent of Public Works was present to talk about a frequently discussed subject, bridges. The first topic of discussion was a bridge near the Jerry Wessling place. Stuart Porter was also present to discuss the details of the bridge’s replacement. According to Porter that while the bridge has serious structural concerns it does not rate low enough on the State’s rating scale to warrant replacement with State funds. The bridge rates in the high 30s/low 40s on their scale and it needs to score in the mid to low 20s. Commissioners Claussen and Marshall were of a mind to replace it using County funds because it may be years before it meets state standards to be replaced. A wild guess figure of $100,000 was presented for initial discussion.


Housh said that there was fracture critical bridge north of Cawker City that needs attention. His crews will replace the deck beams and the deck itself.


Crews have finished the gravel work near Green Mound Cemetery. This will be the first week they will haul gravel to the Palen Road at the rate of 50 loads per mile.


The Solomon River south of Asherville continues to erode the river bank near the Tom Hull place. A hydrological expert will visit next Monday and assess the situation and present the Commissioners with alternatives.


Housh said he is recommending the purchase of a computer diagnostic hardware and software program for use in determining repair needs of the County equipment. He said they must often take the equipment to shop that has such equipment and pay a considerable fee for the diagnosis. He said, “We keep paying high bills for diagnosis. Almost all equipment and trucks require this type of equipment. I think we should get our own rather than paying big fees to someone else.” The Commissioners gave their approval for spending $5,000 for the necessary equipment.


Becky Snook, Communications Director, made an appearance to discuss the purchase of new dispatcher chairs. She said two of the three chairs are at least fifteen years old. These chairs are used by the dispatchers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is lots of moving right and left and up and down. As with any piece of equipment heavily used in the work setting, a run-of-the-mill chair will not last long.


Snook has located a vendor that was present at a recent meeting she attended. This vendor offers a heavy duty chair with a six year warranty and a considerable discount. The price tag, per chair, is $1,304. The Commissioners wanted to involve Commissioner Cooper in the final decision.


A weather spotter meeting will take place on March 10th at 6:30 p.m. in the Severance Conference Room at NCK Tech. The meeting is offered by the National Weather Service.



Jason Vetter spoke to the Commissioners about the state of affairs at the County Noxious Weed department. The main topic of discussion was equipment.


The current four wheeled ATV fitted with a spray rig is a 2004 model making it 16 years old. Vetter said they have trouble keeping it running for any period of time. They start it, it runs, then dies. At some point in the future it will start again. It is in need of four tires at $200 each.


Vetter has received two bids for replacement ATV vehicles. One is from Kan Equip in Salina and the other is from Superior Outdoor Equipment in Superior, Nebraska. The bid from Superior Outdoor Equipment was for a 2020 Yamaha 700 vehicle at a cost of $9713.60. The bid from Kan Equip was for a 2019 Polaris 570 vehicle at a cost of $8112. Vetter said the Yamaha was a bigger vehicle and is a year newer. Because it is a larger vehicle carrying around a 20 gallon spray tank would be more stable than on the smaller Polaris.


Vetter said the current pickup assigned to the Weed Department is a 2002 model with 140,000 miles. The possibility of a replacement vehicle was discussed. Vetter said he had sat down with the folks at Beloit Motors and worked up a new pickup that would be what he needs. The price tag of $38,000 was more than the Commissioners were wanting to spend at this time. They discussed the possibility of finding a used truck that was two or three years old. Many of these have lots of life left in them and the price is much more affordable. Vetter will investigate this option.


Having addressed all the items on the printed agenda, the meeting was adjourned.

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