A Pottawatomie County citizen brought up allegations of the Pottawatomie County Commission going over budget with expenditures during a meeting Monday.
The citizen mentioned various travel expenditures and meetings, such as a $1000 one-day trip to Washington D.C., a $900 iPad and a meeting at a local restaurant with John Ford, a commissioner for Riley County, citing “highly reliable sources.”
Dee McKee, a commissioner for Pottawatomie county, was the first to respond to the comments, saying traveling and meeting with different groups and people that play a role in government are essential to being a commissioner.
“Anyone in politics who continues to just see numbers without seeing benefits and obligations of necessary understanding is messing up their election policy,” McKee said.
Pat Weixelman, also a commissioner for Pottawatomie County, went next, saying he has never used the credit card the government provides for him and will keep a close eye on commission expenditures in the future.
“Next year, once we hit January, and there’s a couple people who have been sitting here as long as myself, I am going to be a staunch reviewer of these financials that come in,” Weixelman said.
This discussion came one day after The Mercury published an article written by Hailey Dixon comparing expenditures of government officials in Riley County and Pottawatomie County.
In other Pottawatomie County Commission news…
Traffic signal at intersection of US-24 and Columbian Rd.
The Pottawatomie County Commission has agreed to terms with the City of Wamego for the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of US-24 and Columbian Rd..
The plan will be to pay for construction with a Kansas Department of Transportation-grant while dividing the remaining costs between the county and Wamego.
“The county would agree to do the construction inspection and the city of Wamego would do all the long-term operation and maintenance costs,” Peter Clark, the director of the Pottawatomie County Public Works Department, said. “That’s all with a caveat that we’re able to get a grant from KDOT to pay for all of the construction.”
Cost estimates are $300,000 for construction, $40,000 for engineering design and $20-$40 million for construction inspection, depending on if in-house services are used.
Travis Altenhofen, a commissioner for Pottawatomie County, voted in opposition to this, saying the City of Wamego should pay for more of the cost since it owns the majority of the intersection.
Limerick Ln. extension project
The county will also be providing $30,000 to meet the required amount of funding needed to complete the Limerick Lane Extension project.
Bids for the project came in above what the county had in projected funding for the project, which will cost about $500,000
Commissioner Altenhofen was again the lone vote in opposition, due to use of county funds being unplanned.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment solid-waste disposal program
Pottawatomie County Commissioners will move forward with a Kansas Department of Health and Environment program in an effort to clean various sites with a concerning amount of solid-waste accumulation.
These efforts will involve sending notifications to the property owners and then entering onto the property to remove the waste if the property owners don’t remove it themselves.
The county would pay for 25 percent of trash removal processes costing up to $10,000 with KDHE covering the rest.
According to Scott Schwinn, the sanitarian for Pottawatomie County, some of the sites have been known about for a while but have yet to be dealt with.
“It is an opportunity to get several sites cleaned up that we know are a problem,” Schwinn said. “You know the folks that have them aren’t going to clean them up on their own without getting prodded to do it. And yes, we may have to foot the bill, but just because somebody’s got a trailer full of trash in their back yard does not mean the county gets involved.”
Joint Land Use Study
The commission approved the Office of Planning and Development to submit an application for a grant from the Office of Economic Adjustment worth around $100,000.
If awarded, this grant would go towards a plan for future roads and road designs in the Green Valley-area.
This was one of Green Valley Land Use Plan-projects that were presented to the commission for the grant application.