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County may need to accelerate Tampa road project

Staff writer

County Clerk Carol Maggard told Marion County Commission on Monday that construction is already behind the timeline set in a loan from Kansas Department of Transportation to build a blacktop road into Tampa.

By now, the timeline calls for the county to have spent 15 percent of the $2 million loan, she said. By February, when the county expected to have contractors begin the work, the timeline calls for 75 percent to be spent.

KDOT is willing to give some flexibility, but they need to see progress, Maggard said.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he would speak with KDOT and Tampa residents to try to develop a plan.

Federal funds exchange would remove some strings from road money

KDOT representatives Eric Deitcher and Dawn Hueske discussed the department’s federal funds exchange program.

Each county receives federal funds for road projects, which are distributed by the state. Those federal dollars come with many requirements for how the money is to be spent and projects are to be completed.

The state is offering to trade federal funds for state funds at a rate of 90 cents per dollar. The benefit for counties is the state funds wouldn’t have as many strings attached. They could be used for any transportation project, as long as it was specifically designated with KDOT, Deitcher said.

The county has a balance of about $500,000 of federal funds, but KDOT only set aside about $400,000 for the funds exchange with the county.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said the funds might be used to replace road signs. Changes in federal regulations require that the county install road name signs with letters at least 6 inches tall by 2013.

The commission scheduled a special meeting for 9 a.m. Thursday to discuss whether to participate in the funds exchange.

Problems getting water for road projects

The state gave the county a permit to draw water from streams for road projects, but immediately prohibited the county from doing so because water levels downstream are too low, Interim Road and Bridge Superintendent John Summerville said.

The permit cost $200 and is good for 6 months or until the county withdraws 1 million gallons.

The water level measurement is taken on the Neosho River at Parsons. Marion County’s Cottonwood River is a tributary of the Neosho River.

“They just gave us permission not to draw water,” Commissioner Dan Holub said. “We can get that for free.”

The county identified possible sources of water for the road projects. There is a well near Centre High School that the county could possibly draw two tankers full of water from a day. The third tanker load could come from Marion, Holub said.

Candidates interviewed for department head position

The commission had a special meeting Aug. 3 to interview county employees interested in the road and bridge superintendent position. John Summerville is the interim superintendent.

The commission met in closed session for an hour to discuss three candidates, then met with each candidate for an hour. No action was taken on return to open session.

Last modified Aug. 10, 2011

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