Pottawatomie County health officials ramping up vaccine distribution; commission approves public works policy governing land acquisition


Pottawatomie County health officials continue to get vaccine in the arms of residents.

Health Department Director Leslie Campbell informed county commissioners Monday that over 400 vaccines were administered during a clinic last week in Wamego.

“We had a lot of good help, the Sheriff’s Department doing the parking, probably half the staff was volunteers and the Wamego Health Center also sent some volunteers,” she said.

Supply is dwindling a bit since no shipments came in last week due to weather, but Campbell says they will be getting some help to vaccinate teachers and staff throughout the county.

“KDHE and the National Guard will be coming out to do the schools this week, and they’re going to do all school personnel for us,” she said.

Two more mass clinics are also scheduled during the first week of March.

Campbell says Wamego officials are now working with her office to safely plan for April’s Tulip Festival, which was canceled last year due to COVID restrictions.

Wamego also recently extended its mask ordinance to March 10.

In other business Monday, the county commission unanimously approved a 2021 policy governing the acquisition of right-of-way on road and bridge projects.

The policy allows the public works administrator and/or the county engineer authority to acquire right-of-way necessary for the construction of road and bridge projects. The commission struck out having a minimum value for small tracts of land less than one acre for such projects.

Commission Chair Greg Riat says doing so allows the county the ability to squash any negotiations that might delay or hinder a project from proceeding.

“It doesn’t seem right that I raise heck about a road and I want it fixed and then when you come to fix it, well now I want money, and I want a lot of money. That’s just not right,” he said.

Commissioner Pat Weixelman says while he respects condemnation and property rights, the county can’t keep paying well above what a small tract of land is worth.

“What if you go in there and (someone) has irrigated crop and it’s one acre and it (the policy) already spells out $4,800 per acre lot. What if a guy wants 80 acres, what do you do? I realize at $10,000 he can sign it, but by god we’re paying two times what it’s worth,” he said.

The values are determined below according to the Appraiser’s Office.

1. Permanent Road and Utility Easements Acreage x Land Value (*) x 2, Plus cost to cure items such as relocation of fences, loss of trees, etc.
2. Temporary Easement Acreage x Land Value (*) x 0.2, Plus cost to cure items such as relocation of fences, loss of trees, etc.

(*) Pottawatomie County Land Value by Pottawatomie County
Native Pasture 2,700. per acre
Tame Pasture 2,700. per acre
Dry Crop 3,800. per acre
Irrigated Crop 5,600. per acre
Waste 1,205. per acre

It was also announced that the county will be interviewing a candidate for the vacant public works director position on Friday.




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Brandon Peoples

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

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