Purchase photos

Still no vote on county office space





The Ellis County Commission remained undecided after its meeting Monday about a temporary home for county courthouse/law enforcement center staff during renovations to the building.

With Commissioner Swede Holmgren absent due to an injury, the two commissioners decided to wait for more information about renting the former Hays Pathology Lab on 13th Street. There are no definitive estimates for renovations the facility requires to accommodate county staff.

Dividing walls and updating the HVAC system are among the needs, and the cost for utilities is unclear. Fixing the HVAC would be reflected in the rent, and the walls could start at $24,000.

The Hadley Center on Seventh, which is available immediately, has approximately 17,000 square feet to choose from on different floors.

Dave Van Doren, representing the center, said his building is a known price. He urged commissioners to get contractor bids for the work in the lab because the project could become a "money pit."

"I think you should get cost estimates from a contractor, complete with HVAC, electrical, soundproofing, the whole works," he said. "Not some back of a napkin estimate."

Greg Sund, Ellis County administrator, said tentative numbers were based on figures from an architect.

In other business:

* Mike King, secretary with the Kansas Department of Transportation, addressed commissioners. The state official said he visited with three businesses in north Hays to discuss their expansion plans and how KDOT can partner with local governments to improve surrounding roads.

Sund said the area near 55th and 230th is undergoing significant economic growth.

"One of the things that everyone recognized when they were there, though, is this is not really a future issue. They're building stuff now," he said.

* One Ellis County bridge could be repaired through a KDOT program. Thirty-four bridges are eligible for the initiative, said Mike Graf, director of Ellis County Public Works. The deadline to apply is in September.

* Commissioners approved the purchase of a $194,000 landfill trash compactor.

* The noxious weed budget has $104,000 remaining for the rest of the year. Contingency funds might be needed to sustain it, Graf said.

* Sund said the wage and benefit study is underway.

* Commissioners had an executive session to discuss issues related to non-elected personnel. No action was taken.

* Commissioners will revisit the budget shortfall at a meeting next week.