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County phases in road projects





Ellis County commissioners voted unanimously at their Monday night meeting to approve an engineering agreement for county road improvements projected to span the next decade.

The agreement with BG Consultants, Manhattan, lays out a four-phase scope of services, which includes project selection, assistance with developing a funding strategy, project development and construction engineering.

BG Consultants' fee for the engineering services is not to exceed $39,565.

Public Works Director Mike Graf told commissioners setting a schedule for completion of phase one, which includes developing a list of potential projects for consideration, is an important factor in the process.

Commission Chairman Swede Holmgren said phase two of the process would include BG Consultants assisting the county in developing funding strategies.

"That was one of the things we had asked that they be on line with us," he said.

BG Consultants' use of project phases was done at Graf's request.

"I asked them to put them in a phase format because if, for some reason, at the completion of any particular phase, you want to use somebody else, then you're not tied to them specifically," Graf said.

The county's 2013 budget includes $600,000 for road improvements. The improvements are projected to span a 10-year time frame, with $600,000 to be budgeted each year for the projects.

In other business, commissioners:

* Approved a 2012 budget amendment and authorized transfers to the equipment replacement reserve fund.

* Voted 3-0 to accept the recommendation of the Care Council to distribute the county's special alcohol fund revenues in a 50-50 split between Dream Inc. and Smoky Hill Foundation for Chemical Dependency.

* Authorized purchase of a pneumatic roller from the equipment reserve fund at a cost of $61,094. Rental fees for the roller, which had been leased for summer 2012, will go toward the purchase of the roller, originally priced at $67,500.

* Determined a priority for public works capital purchases for 2012.

* Were given information from Graf regarding potential of drilling Dakota wells for use by public works crews for road projects.

* Agreed to advertise for a bond consultant for the upcoming road improvement bond issue.

* Tabled a decision to consider a spot on the Spring Hill radio tower for amateur radio antenna and related equipment pending input from County Counselor Bill Jeter.

* Were informed by Kerry McCue, EMS director, that EMS had been found in compliance with a state inspection.

* Accepted a proposal from Adjusters International.