Pott. County Commissioners receive updates from emergency management, appraiser

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Pottawatomie County Commissioner Dee McKee says she wants more public awareness surrounding alternate routes to and from the new Oliver Brown Elementary School in Blue Township.

Access to the new school from Hwy 24 is somewhat limited and McKee says a major traffic incident could cause some major disruptions.

“I think it’s going to be essential that we look at that and the Green Valley Road that’s two lanes wide that needs some work on the side of the bridge and there may be a day where something gets closed. They need to know the route around,” she said.

The comments were shared during a monthly presentation from Emergency Management Director Jennifer Merrow.

Commission Chair Greg Riat cautioned that the county cannot detour traffic from Hwy 24, as it is a state highway. That is the responsibility of the Kansas Department of Transportation.

While there is information on the Pott. County website, regarding emergency planning, Commissioner Pat Weixelman agreed with McKee that making more public awareness surrounding those routes, couldn’t hurt.

“You’re not going to have 20,000 people get on the computer at the time half the bridge washes out or something, looking for a place to go,” he said.

In her monthly report to the commission, Emergency Management Director Jennifer Merrow highlighted that the county is also planning to resume active shooter training at the Rock Creek Middle School new addition this summer. The event was canceled last year due to Covid.

In other business Monday, commissioners also heard an update from County Appraiser Robin Knoblauch.

One of the cases she discussed was a small claims case involving the east Manhattan Pizza Hut, along McCall Road. The hearing is a continuance of the 2020 first half payment under protest. Knoblauch says her office already adjusted down over $207,000 to the improvement value.

“We’ve already taken it down substantially according to the income and expense information that they turned in is why we would’ve taken the value down, but I guess they just don’t feel like it was enough,” she said.

The appraised improvement total is just under $120,000. In 2019, that figure was over $324,000.  The appraised land total is over $885,000. (Data from Pottawatomie County Property Tax data online)

The hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. on May 5. Knoblauch says she’ll be working with Emporia commercial appraiser Ryan Janzen on the matter. Knoblauch explains the process of appraising the property value.

“If every Pizza Hut in Kansas is a 100 square foot building and this one is 150 square feet, you would have a super-adequacy adjustment to make because it was bigger and it’s not like the norm, but you also have to take into consideration, some of their income,” she said.

That could be greatly impacted due to COVID-19. Commissioners said it would be interesting to find out how much federal help and personal protective equipment received from the CARES Act as well.

Other BOTA hearings will take place later in the year including a dark store theory appeal of 2019 and 2020 values by Academy Sports scheduled for Oct. 13.

Wamego Country Club is also appealing its 2019 values at a rescheduled hearing Dec. 7. That case is not a dark store case.

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Brandon Peoples

KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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