County collects nearly 20,000 tires

LYNDON—The Osage County Board of Commissioners observed considerable success in a special tire cleanup event conducted last weekend at the Osage County Transfer Station. The collection yielded nearly 20,000 tires from private residents around Osage County.

“We were way over our estimates,” said Pat Walsh, county counselor. “Way over.”

Glen Tyson, road and bridge supervisor, said residents brought in 7,788 tires on Nov. 3; 6,793 tires on Nov. 4; and 5,281 tires on Nov. 5 – a total of 19,862 tires. Around 180 vehicles made drop offs each day.

“Thursday, we had traffic back a quarter mile,” Tyson said.

“I would say it’s the most fabulously successful thing we’ve tried to do,” said Ken Kuykendall, county commissioner. “We probably won’t do again for several years. This was fulfilling our requirements with KDHE on our issue with them. I hope the public understands.

“Think of how many of them aren’t out there full of mosquitos,” Kuykendall said. “Just the environmental part and the mosquito part, with all the Zika stuff. Plus, just cleaning the county up in general.”

Commissioners highlighted that the cleanup was a one-time event, and encouraged residents to dispose of tires regularly.

“KDHE does have regulation on how many tires a person is supposed to have,” said Fred Diver, commissioner.

Commissioners, who each volunteered to help with the cleanup, discussed the range of drop-offs, from truck loads to semi loads.

“I don’t know how a person ends up with 600 tires,” Kuykendall said.

Commissioners thanked the road and bridge crew as well as other departments that helped out.

“It was a monumental effort to unload the things,” Kuykendall said.

Tyson said the tires will be collected before next spring.

“As long as we get rid of them before mosquito season next year,” Tyson said.

The county had set aside $8,000 for the collection, and received an additional $2,000 from the Osage County Soil Conservation District. The final cost will be tallied from the overall weight when the tires are collected.

Rails-to-Trails request

Pat Walsh, county counselor, told commissioners he’d received a response from the attorney generals office regarding questions related to trail sponsors along land designated through the Rails-To-Trails Act.

“It’s not what we had hoped for,” Walsh said.

Walsh cited the second paragraph of the response letter.

“Having reviewed your request and research, it is with regret we inform you that your request is denied because this is the subject of potential litigation,” the letter said.

“Is that a usual thing?” asked Gaylord Anderson, chairman.

“It’s one of the grounds they used to deny it,” Walsh said.

The letter referenced a 2006 response to Delton Gilliland, former county counselor. In the response, the letter noted language from K.S.A. 58-3215, which says, “If the responsible party fails to comply with provisions of the this act, any adjacent property owner, city or county aggrieved by the noncompliance may bring an action in the district court to enforce provisions of the act.”

The response viewed the powers listed in that act as discretionary, and that it is not the opinion of the attorney generals office that counties are required to enforce provisions of the act or related laws.

“There’s no requirement for the county to take any action to try to remove a trail sponsor,” Walsh said. “We may have some discretion to do that, as would the land owner, based on that prior opinion.”

Commissioners agreed to mail copies of the response to Osage County Farm Bureau, Jim Foster and any other interested parties.

In other business, commissioners:

• conducted an executive session for 15 minutes with Laurie Johnson, sheriff; Jeff Johnson, undersheriff; and Pat Walsh, county counselor; to discuss non-elected personnel. Upon return to open session, the commissioners approved payroll change reports for the discharge of sheriff’s office employees Christopher Wells, Amanda Williams and Mike Garish.

• heard a request for Shari Weber, county treasurer, for a work day to sort out special delinquent personal property tax cases.

“We have our 2015 delinquent personal property tax stack that we filed with the court for collection,” Weber said. “We have about six people who identify as deceased.”

Weber also noted cases where issues with taxes are from other counties.

“Is this a lot of dollars?” asked Anderson.

“They add up after a while,” Weber said. “But it’s also sending out letter to people who are deceased.”

“Sending notices to dead people is kind of inappropriate,” Anderson said.

• heard Dunn has filled out paperwork to be reimbursed $2,000 for patrol vehicle grill guards from a risk management grant.

• heard from Anne Grey, health department director, that the department had received an additional $1,861 in funding due to the establishment of a federal government Zika virus fund. The commissioners authorized signing a revised contract to accept the funds.

Grey also announced she would be retiring in August 2017.

• signed a letter to allow the release of unclaimed remains of a former sheriff’s office employee. Employees planned to donate to have the remains placed next to the deceased’s parents.

• approved purchase order 3210 for purchase of 10,000 motor vehicle envelopes for $875.

• heard Kuykendall will attend a Lyon County planning and zoning meeting regarding the wind farm, which will reside partially in Osage County. Commissioners also briefly discussed contracts related to maintenance of county and township roads that may be used during the construction of the farm.

• heard from Teresa Briggs, Drug Free Osage County, concerning a proposed electronic cigarette ordinance for the courthouse.

• discussed with Sheila Curley, Osage City United Methodist Church, regarding a deposit for renting the Osage County Senior Center. Carpet was stained during a recent bazaar, however, the renters made efforts to clean the carpet.

Kuykendall suggested the item be tabled for the other commissioners to inspect the area.

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