Purchase photos

Ellis Co. bridge inspection fees to rise





The cost of Ellis County biennial bridge inspections likely will jump by approximately 17 percent in 2012 based on projections by an engineering firm.

Ellis County commissioners voted Monday evening to contract Kaw Valley Engineering to move forward with county bridge inspections at a cost of $103 per bridge, an increase from $88 per bridge two years ago.

Public Works Director Mike Graf reported to commissioners some of reasons for the increase given by Kaw Valley, which performed the last bridge inspection.

"Their response was, due to the changes that KDOT is requiring for the bridge inspections, that they feel their fee would need to be $103 per bridge," Graf said.

A new inspection manual, generated by KDOT, delineates several new requirements for bridge inspections. In addition, Graf said, the inspection process will include review of fracture critical information.

Twenty-two bridge inspections within the city of Hays will be paid for by the city, with 210 bridges in Ellis County being the financial responsibility of the county. Total cost of the inspection to the county is estimated at $21,630.

Commission Chairman Swede Holmgren said he thought it unlikely other engineering firms would do the inspections at a lower cost. Commissioner Glenn Diehl added he has no objection to moving forward with Kaw Valley.

Although Graf did not present a contract at Monday's meeting, commissioners voted 3-0 to proceed with Kaw Valley performing the bridge inspections, pending county counsel's review of the contract.

In other business, commissioners:

* Approved a contract not to exceed $20,000 with BG Consultants to initiate deck replacement of a bridge north of Ellis.

* Received information from Dan Harden of BG Consultants regarding prioritization of county road and bridge projects.

* Tabled approval of the county comprehensive plan pending zoning recommendations from RDG Planning & Design.

* Discussed Mental Health Services and Funding Challenges Report by the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas.

* Decided to allow Ellis Industrial Development Corp. 60 days for development of a proposal for the county shop building in Ellis.

* Agreed to set aside 20 minutes per interview for four financial consultants during meetings Nov. 5 and Nov. 12.

* Considered setting a special meeting the first part of December for performance measures and goal setting.

* Were presented information regarding priority-base budgeting from County Administrator Greg Sund.

* Performed employment evaluation of Sund during an executive session.