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Bourbon County to get payment from firms that installed conduit without permits

Saturday, October 6, 2012

FORT SCOTT-- Bourbon County officials addressed a full agenda on Friday, including reaching an agreement with K&W Underground, a contractor for Verizon Wireless, which commissioners said buried conduit along county roads and bored under those roads without a permit. Commissioners demanded K&W Underground pay for regraveling of those roads and repair any damage done to properties and driveways along Poplar Road from 235th Street to Verizon's tower on 205th Street.

"I think we need to negotiate what damages we feel like have been inflicted upon the county," County Commission Chairman Harold Coleman told a representative of Verizon Wireless and its subcontractors.

Commissioners met Friday with Renald Eden, project engineer for K&W Underground, Rick Schaefer with Verizon Wireless and Otis Brewer of Golden Field Services.

Commissioners mandated a $37,125 payment from K&W to the Bourbon County Road and Bridge Department to regravel those roads. Video shot by Public Works director Marty Pearson apparently shows damage to windrows and driveways along the path where the conduit was buried.

The $37,125 is for a 4.5-mile stretch, which commissioners estimate would take about 50, 15-ton truckloads of gravel per mile at a price of $11 per ton to repair. "If that's what it is, that's what it is," Eden said.

Commissioners decided not to demand that Verizon Wireless and its subcontractors dig up the conduit already installed and were assured by Eden that the conduit was buried at a proper depth of 36 to 42 inches. Pearson confirmed that he had checked some areas and they appeared to be within that range.

"This would be so much simpler had it been permitted," Coleman said.

Officials said in some places, the conduit is not buried far enough off the roadway. "If you had come in and asked for a permit we would have asked you to put it as close to the fence as possible," Commissioner Allen Warren noted.

Commissioners also said they needed to charge Chain Electric, a contractor for Heartland Electric, $16,500 to replace gravel the company took from windrows, without authorization, while replacing utility poles after the large storm that hit the area about a month ago. Pearson said the area was a two-mile stretch along 155th Street from Poplar to Range Road. The company allegedly took county-owned gravel from windrows to set their utility poles without approval from the county, which wiped out the existing windrows.

Assistant County Attorney Valorie Le Blanc told commissioners the county was ready to close next Thursday on the financing for the sewer district at Lake Fort Scott. She said the county has collected all but $5,600 of the $132,000 needed from residents of the area. Commissioners authorized County Clerk Joanne Long to write the appropriate checks for the closing.

Commissioners also moved closer to finding an abstractor to begin a tax sale of 2008 delinquent real estate and severed minerals properties totaling $113,954.04 for 195 properties. Long offered to help Bourbon County Treasurer Susan Quick determine non-homestead parcels from 2009 that can be sold at the next sale as well. Three-hundred-eighty-six parcels totaling $191,367.13 are on the 2009 delinquent tax rolls, but the 195 2008 properties are likely part of the 386 for 2009.

Commissioners received a quote of $60 per tract from Security 1st Title, up from their previous fee of $25 per tract. Commissioners said attorney Dan Meara had quoted a price of $65 per tract. Commissioners also asked if it was within their rights to seek quotes out of county for the work.

In other business:

* After a visit from Reed Hartford, of the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site, commissioners signed a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 8 as Don Miller and Fred Campbell week in Bourbon County.

* Commissioners opened a bid from Kansas Truck Center for three Freightliner 108SD dump trucks for $140,931 each for a total of $422,793. The county has already budgeted about $145,000 each for the trucks. Commissioner Warren suggested Pearson review the specifications to make sure the equipment is exactly what the county needs.

* Commissioners announced they will be conducting three fence viewings on Friday, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Lake Fort Scott area.

* County Personnel Director Angi Timi told commissioners they have the software to e-mail payroll stubs to county employees rather than mailing them via traditional mail. Timi said mailing the paystubs costs about $1,200 a year and takes about two hours per payroll to stuff, stamp and send the paystubs to county workers.

Warren was reluctant to force all employees to receive their paystubs via e-mail and recommended the county get as many as possible to cooperate voluntarily. Timi noted that all employees were recently forced to receive their checks via direct deposit, but every employee that would be willing to receive their paystubs via e-mail would save the county money and time.

* Judy Wallis, who helps with landscaping at the county courthouse, discussed having inmates at the Southeast Kansas Regional Correctional Facility help with the upkeep on the courthouse lawn.

* Pat Vincent requested a fence viewing for his property in northern Bourbon County in Pawnee Township that butts with property owned by Harold Hedrick. Commissioners said this is just the second viewing in that area of the county in two years.

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