• Charlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission weighs cost of bridge to wildlife area

MOUND CITY – On Monday, Nov. 21. Linn County Public Works Director Shaun West

gave the Linn County Commission an update on replacing or repairing a bridge on Zenor Road, which leads into the Marais des Cygne Federal Wildlife Area.

West said that after discussing the situtation with staff at the refuge, they have found that the cost of building a new bridge on Zenor Road would be prohibitive. But West said that he and County Road Foreman Harry Wisdom thought they could reopen Zenor Road with supplies the county has on hand.

West said that Wisdom said that the county has the blocks that can be used to temporarily repair the wing wall on the bridge. The county will be able to do this with just manpower and fuel in about four days.

Both Commission Chair Jim Johnson and Commissioner Danny McCullough questioned why they would take the county’s taxpayers’ dollars to repair the bridge when it only goes to the federal wildlife land. Commissioner Rick James did not attend the meeting.

West said that the county still bears responsibility for the bridge. He said he will bring more recommendations about the bridge next week after he talks with federal officials about what the consequence would be for them getting a grant if the county backed out of the project.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Heard a report from West about the buy-back system for the county’s maintainers. West told the commissioners if they went through the buy back and ordered new maintainers now, they would not be in until next summer. He said the county would have to rent their trade-in equipment back until the new ones came in.

While the buy-back amount per maintainer is $115,000, the cost to the county of

buying new maintainers would cost the county $795,000 on top of the buy back.

West recommended that the county use its funds to replace more dated equipment

owned by the county.

• Heard a report from Noxious Weed Director Johnny Taylor about the activities of the department for the past year. He encouraged residents to call the public works or noxious weed department when they had concerns about areas that needed to be sprayed.

Taylor said that this past year they started on the east side of the county and moved west spraying more than 400 miles of roadside ditches. He said in 2023 his department will start where they left off and make the west side of the county more of a priority.

• Learned from Linn County Attorney Burton Harding that a trial scheduled for December settled and was canceled. He told the commission that his office would be closed on Jan. 18 for a software training class.

• Were introduced to Darcy Wilson, the new Housing Champion, and learned from her that she was meeting with Linn County cities the first week of December, probably on Dec. 5.

• Appointed Darin Wilson, Zoning Administrator, as the third canvasser for the election ballots as Commissioner Rick James was absent.

• Recessed from the county commission meeting to go into the Board of Canvassers meeting. County Clerk David Lamb presented the results of the Nov. 8 election and the post election audit to the commissioners. They approved the results.

Then, they reviewed the 69 provisional ballots presented by Lamb. They approved his recommendation that 18 of the ballots not be counted. The canvassers then went to the court house to observe the provisional ballots being counted. The commissioners approved the Election Abstract, adjourned the canvassers meeting and returned to the court house annex to continue the commission meeting.

• Accepted the resignation of Zach Daniels as a truck driver at the solid waste department after a 10-minute executive session.

• Learned from West that the county had passed its Hazardous Household Waste inspection.

• Learned from West that there is a new park lease from Evergy to discuss next week. West also handed out the new proposed fee schedule for the parks, which will be discussed next week.

• Heard from West that the grants from the East Central Kansas Area on Aging would cover 40 percent, or nearly $7,800, of the projects on the senior centers. The county’s share of the costs would be more than $11,600.

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