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Department heads update commission | News - Telephony News
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Department heads update commission | News

Topics ranging from snow removal to fire danger and the move back into the courthouse dominated discussion during the Dickinson County Commission’s March 10 work session as county department heads and elected officials updated commissioners on work going on in their respective offices.

As the snow flew outside that day, Road and Bridge Supervisor Martin Tannahill said snow plow operators were removing snow, but areas were filling back in as soon as they were cleared. Because of the conditions, crews would not be willing to get to the gravel roads until that evening.

The current high price of oil – driven up due to the war in Ukraine – has had a detrimental effect on the price of hot mix asphalt, used for roadwork projects during the summer.

“As of yesterday, hot mix asphalt was $4.20 a ton higher than it was last year, which is a 9 to 10 percent increase,” Tannahill said. “That’s $85,000 to $90,000 more to do the same amount of roads we do in an average year.”

The price for tack oil still is unknown, but Tannahill said as soon as he knows the cost of materials he can determine how much road work can be completed.

Emergency Management Director Chancy Smith noted that although it was snowing at the time, the county still is in a wildfire danger area.

“I’m guessing that three days after the snow is gone we’ll be in fire danger again,” he said.

Smith, who also serves as the county’s facilities manager, thanked Tannahill’s crews for helping “disassemble” Sterl Hall after District Court moved out, taking down walls, removing wires, cleaning floors and returning it to its “natural state in four hours.”

County Attorney Andrea Purvis and Clerk of the District Court Cindy MacDonald each thanked various county staff members for their help during the moving process. Both said their new office furniture had been set up, they were getting organized and were back to business.

MacDonald also reported the first jury trial of the year is scheduled for March 21.

• Environmental Services Director Derek Norrick reported the Noxious Weed department now is able to sell chemicals. Legally, they cannot do so until March 1. His office still is looking for a sprayer operator.

• Appraiser Lisa Berg said CVN’s (Change in Value Notices) were mailed out March 1 and her office has received 25 appeals and a number of calls that were easily answered with an explanation.

• Register of Deeds Rose Johns said her office is organizing and preparing to move back to the courthouse.

• Treasurer Leah Hern reported the March 8 delinquent tax sale was a success and brought in more than $28,000 and the second tax distribution will be mailed this week.

• Human Resource Director Diane Greenough said she has been interviewing job candidates and several openings are still available.

• County Clerk Jeanne Livingston’s office has been working on Homestead Tax returns with 41 scheduled, as well as budgets for townships, fire districts and watersheds and election filings.

• GIS/IT Director Sherry Massey reported her staff has been busy with the moves, getting the phone system switched over from old to new, preparation for upcoming moves and numerous other tasks.

• Asst. County Administrator/Budget Director Janelle Dockendorf said the annual audit is underway and budget worksheets have been sent out to every department and she will begin scheduling meetings to talk about the 2023 budget and capital plan. The first drug court was set to begin this week.

• 911 Communications Director Emily Nichols said 911 calls are up from this time last year and she will participate in 911 Goes to Washington the week of March 14. Nichols is the president of the Kansas chapter of APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communication Officials) which is sponsoring the trip.

• Sheriff Jerry Davis said he had promoted several staff members, creating vacancies in other areas and said he received a request from the Kansas Highway Patrol for the Kansas National Guard to collect expired or extra ballistic vests or helmets to be sent to Ukraine. His department donated five vests and 14 helmets.

• Chisholm Trail Extension 4-H Development Agent Jill Martinson said the office is continuing to provide VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and Medicare Advantage Plan help; Walk Kansas registration now is open; community garden spots are open in Herington and Abilene; the 74th annual 4-H Basketball Tournament was set for Saturday, March 12 and fairgrounds cleanup was March 13. Although Chisholm Trail Extension is a stand-alone entity, Martinson updates county staff about extension activities.

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