Friday, October 28, 2011

Riley County Commission October 27, 2011

Joan Strickler, observer

All Commissioners present, and McCulloh presiding.

Commissioners approved a contract for the purchase of real estate which will give better access to Fairmont Park They also signed a letter to Manhattan Mayor Sherow regarding the ballot question language on an interlocal agreement regarding property taxes.

County Attorney Barry Wilkerson said his office currently is dealing with three homicide cases. This is a large increase over the number of such cases ten years ago and becoming very costly and time consuming for his office, the RCPD, and the courts.

A lengthy hearing was held with the residents of the Valleywood edition in regards to ongoing drainage problems. Residents complained of pouring money into years of efforts to alleviate flooding of properties. Several who spoke resisted agreeing to pay for any additional such efforts.

County Counselor Clancy Holeman said Westar has agreed to pay for guard fences for two large utility poles that could present a danger in case of vehicle accidents. There was some concern expressed about Westar not informing the county of its plans and failing to request permits.

The Commission agreed to seek bids for its 2012 financial audit.

Register of Deeds Debbie Regester said the County is running $130,000 over income estimates for this year due to several large commercial loans. She said counties and states increasingly have to deal with problems resulting from tactics used by some financial institutions, such as "robo" signing of contracts for housing loans and cloudy paperwork.

Jim Williams and Phil Anderson said they are willing to raise funds for a sign on the east pier of the river. The problem to be resolved is determining whether the city or the county owns the pier. The electronic part of the sign would advertise only non-profit events.

Following a lunch for local legislators, a discussion was held about legislative priorities of the county. The first issue involves the use of credit cards. Currently, the state and cities are allowed to accept credit card payments and pass on fees to the purchaser, but counties cannot pass on such fees.

County Commissions have a statutory obligation to immediately conduct soil erosion inspections. The Commission would like to have a requirement for some expert opinion added, such as evaluation by representatives of soil conservation districts.

The county treasurer described problems relating to Kansas counties' inability to title boats. In addition to the loss of income, it makes it difficult for law enforcement to deal with thefts. Mr. Wilkerson said some boats are stolen in Missouri and sold in Kansas, knowing no title is required. Also discussed was the loss of revenue to counties that the state formerly provided, which results in property tax increases at the local levels.

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