The Ellis County Commission at Monday’s meeting voted to approve a special request for construction and installation of a cattle guard in a rural area north of Hays.
The request, made by the Garvert Family Trust, is an anomaly because the cattle guard’s location will be in the middle of two parcels of land. County roads — and right of ways — typically follow section lines and lie on the boundary between two adjacent property owners.
Given the rugged terrain along the section of Horse Thief Canyon Road, public access crosses individually owned parcels of land rather than following straight lines.
A shoofly also will be installed on the Garvert property during cattle guard construction to re-route traffic.
The county agreed to construct the cattle guard, at an estimated cost of approximately $2,700, but the landowners will pay for installation, which is the bulk of the cost, Public Works Director Bill Ring said.
“After we researched it, we agreed that based on what the total cost would be for us to put one in, because to some degree it was limited benefit for everyone, that we would split it and came up with an agreement,” he said. “We’re providing the guard itself because we end up keeping it (if it’s no longer used).”
The landowners also have agreed to ensure installation is up to county standards. Minimal maintenance will be required after construction, Ring said, noting the county owns many cattle guards in rural, open-range areas.
In other business:
• County counselor Bill Jeter said the county’s four labor unions have ratified collective bargaining agreement amendments for 2018. Pending signatures, the agreements will be brought to the commission for approval later this month.
• A previously scheduled discussion of large lot developments within the 3-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction of the city of Hays was rescheduled.
• Commissioners also had an executive session regarding an annual performance evaluation for county administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes, and a second to discuss personnel issues. No action was taken.