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County hears complaint on roads

8/5/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

The Ellis County Commission met Monday and heard from a resident who was concerned with road conditions in a rural part of the county.

Commissioners heard a resident's complaint about conditions near 380 Fairgrounds Road.

Tim Stanton, who lives south of Ellis, said inclement weather erodes the rock road's surface and makes it difficult to navigate. His family had to make a 6-mile detour to avoid the mud after a recent rain. Commercial trucks on the road can make conditions worse.

Oncoming traffic over a steep hill makes using the one drivable lane a dangerous prospect.

"We're just at a point where we feel like we're going to be in a real problem if we need emergency services during any type of precipitation, whether it be snow, ice or rain," Stanton said.

Stanton requested the road's surface be replaced.

Mike Graf, Ellis County public works director, said there are other roads needing similar attention. There are plans to lay rock on roads this fall.

Ellis County Commission Chairwoman Barbara Wasinger said the commission understands Stanton's problem, but she explained the county's recent problem with trimming $1.7 million to reach its target budget.

"I'm afraid the stories of people driving 6 miles to get where they're going, to go in a circle route to get out, is going to be more and more prevalent as we go along," Wasinger said.

* The commission debated how to resolve a problem with the staircase between the main floor and the basement in its new Hays property at 718 Main. Removing it would cost $31,000, and it would cost an $24,000 to install a floor.

Commissioner Dean Haselhorst suggested building a wrought-iron fence to discourage visitors from reaching the area. Commissioners will revisit the issue.

Other business on the agenda:

* Graf said the Kansas Department of Transportation will help pay for 80 percent for work on a bridge near 180th. Bids for the project are scheduled to be let in October 2015.

* Greg Sund, Ellis County administrator, said a proposition to reduce the courthouse's service hours to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. would reduce overtime pay. Employees would still work to 5 p.m., but they would have the opportunity to finish the day's work within business hours. The treasurer's office would save $5,000 under the new hours.

* The 2015 budget will be published Wednesday in The Hays Daily News. The public hearing will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 18 in the courthouse.

* Two 15-minute executive sessions were held to discuss client-attorney privilege and union negotiations.