ERIE – Neosho County Commissioners approved a $337,000 heavy equipment deal Thursday evening after an hour-long work session.

Commissioners negotiated with Foley Equipment before their business meeting, where they approved the $337,383 to rebuild and refurbish a loader at the county quarry. The project will be financed for 36 months at 2.99 percent interest and includes a provision for a rental loader during the rebuild.

Road and Bridge Director Mike Brown also received unanimous approval to refurbish a trailer for $2,970, but the commission split 2-1 on a project on doors for road grader sheds.

Brown presented a bid from SEK Garage Doors to install automatic door openers on the sheds at Earlton and Shaw for $8,150. The county’s   newest   shed  has 

automatic doors, and Brown said a shed at South Mound has sliding doors. He said a shed at Galesburg needs to be replaced.

Commissioner Paul Westhoff cast the vote against the new automatic doors.

“If you can’t get out of a grader to open up a door, you shouldn’t be in a grader,” Westhoff said.

Commissioners David Orr and Gail Klaassen cited safety concerns for grader drivers in approving the openers.

Commissioners scheduled a special meeting for 10 am Dec. 30 for a public hearing on a budget amendment. Klaassen said the county 911 spent more than its budget during the year, although funds were available to cover the expense. The budget amendment gives the department authority for the actual spending above the planned estimate.

The last regular meeting of 2019 will be 6 pm Dec. 19 because of the Christmas holiday.

Commissioners tabled the issue of the speed limit on 160th Road east and west of Shaw between Elk Road and US-59. Orr asked that the issue be tabled until January.

Commissioners also reviewed a policy resolution about volunteer firefighters and EMS using lights and sirens on vehicles. Klaassen requested County Counselor Seth Jones bring the resolution back to correct misspellings and other errors in the legal document.

Commissioners gave Orr approval by consensus to look into a sound system for the Erie courthouse. Orr said he and other people had difficulty hearing during public discussions in the courtroom, and he wants to investigate and get a quote on sound systems for court sessions and also in the commission room.

Jones recommended he also speak with the court reporter about the Chanute courthouse.

In discussion about the Neosho Ridge Wind project, Westhoff brought a fist-sized rock given to him by a Lyons Road resident. He said the rock was an unacceptable size, but Jason Martinson with the wind project said the rock was there before work began. He said the project has not placed gravel on that stretch of road, although the resident said it had.

During public comment, Bryan Coover raised the issue of an Amish school on 60th Road between Ford and Gray. He said students walking to school and horses pulling carriages face safety issues, which existed before the wind project, and horses could be frightened by traffic.

Martinson said they were aware of the issue and had put up warnings of horse-drawn buggies for his own workers.

After meeting in executive session, the commission voted to increase Brown’s salary to $64,000 per year beginning in January.




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