ERIE – The Neosho County Commission had a full board and a short meeting Thursday evening.

Newly-appointed Commissioner Gail Klaassen was sworn in before the meeting after she received confirmation documents from Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. Klaassen was nominated Tuesday by county Republicans to replace David Bideau, who resigned.

But commissioners tabled discussion with accountant Rodney Burns about the upcoming budget and with resident Dustie Elsworth about the Neosho Ridge Wind project. An executive session to discuss personnel took up 15 minutes of the total 70-minute meeting.

The commission approved another resolution, effective May 21, declaring a disaster emergency. Heavy rainfall this week came on top of a previous disaster resolution caused by heavy rainfall.

Commissioners approved a bid from Wright Asphalt Products, Dodge City, to provide oil for chip-and-seal roadwork. They also confirmed the hiring of Samantha Eckman as office assistant and Edward Carter as truck driver for the road and bridge department.

Commissioner Paul Westhoff commended county employees Emily Piersal, Holley Matthews, Robin VanDyne and group chair Rhonda Coronado for organizing a 17-county area meeting held Tuesday at Erie High School. The gathering included Brian Caskey, Deputy Secretary of State in charge of elections, who updated attendants on election law.


County deals with courthouse flooding

ERIE – Neosho County Commissioner Paul Westhoff planned to discuss issues with sewage flooding at the courthouse with the Erie City Council during a special meeting scheduled Friday evening.

Flooding from recent heavy rains apparently led to sewage backing up and overflowing toilets in the courthouse basement. County Clerk Randal Neely said the problem may be related to valves installed after the 2007 flood.

The courthouse closed Wednesday but conducted business Thursday and Friday despite three-inches of sewer water in the basement on Thursday evening. The courthouse will be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.

The water did not damage electronic equipment, Neely said, but did some damage to stored documents from the past three to four years, including blank ballots from past elections.

He said tile, installed after the 2007 flood, may need to be replaced but he hopes it spares cabinetry in the meeting room.

The courthouse also had telephone issues the past three days. During the closure Wednesday, clerk’s office employees were already scheduled to attend software training in Allen County.

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