The Pottawatomie County Commission approved the rezoning of a track of land off of Highway 24 for the possible development of residential housing.
However, not all of the commissioners were on board.
Commissioner Pat Weixelman says he is concerned the layout of the land and surrounding roads may force the county to unnecessarily develop and maintain roads and bridges in the future.
“I’m not against property rights – you can do whatever you want to with it,” Weixelman said. “But if it starts costing the county and private tax payers, then I’m going to have a little bit of question on it.”
Commissioner Gregg Riat suggested the county have a say in certain decisions being considered by the developer.
“It’s an exaggeration, but if they want to build a 1000-foot bridge because it’s neat, but we have to maintain it and our engineer says ‘well if you go 10 foot over, you could put a nice culvert for nothing,’ then we can say ‘no, we’re doing a culvert, unless you’d like to maintain that forever,” Riat said.
The commission had a similar conversation a few weeks ago about development in the same area of Pottawatomie County.
Pottawatomie County could soon have one less town in its fire district.
“I think a possibility is Emmett township may try to withdraw from the county’s fire district and take their tax dollars with them in fear of commissioner McKee’s quest to remove the fire department,” Riat said.
Commissioner Dee McKee recently met with officials to discuss the possibility of multiple eastern Pottawatomie County towns consolidating their fire departments.
Despite Riat’s claim, McKee says she is not trying to remove the fire department.
“Asking questions is not harmful to our plans,” McKee said. “I don’t feel at all that I’m necessarily trying to take it away and I’m glad that they initiated five new people, so even that’s worthwhile as far as operations.”
The commission recently discussed whether it would be wise long-term to invest in the Emmett Fire Station, which reportedly is in need of repair.
While the fire department has budgeted about $225,000 for a remodel, the Emmett Fire Station currently has a shortage of volunteers.
Knuckle boom truck
The Pottawatomie County Commission discussed purchasing a new knuckle boom truck for the Public Works department Monday.
While the truck’s price is within the county’s budget, the commission is hesitant to spend money on something that would see relatively limited use.
Commissioner Pat Weixelman says the county can do the same jobs as a boom truck with tools that are already at its disposal.
“I’m still not on board with spending that kind of money on a boom truck,” Weixelman said. “It’s just not in me. Now if you could find one for half the price, I might be flushed one way or the other. But I just can’t see myself spending $220,000 on a boom truck.”
Commissioner Greg Riat suggested the county lease a truck instead of purchasing one.
The commission will further discuss the topic in the coming weeks.