Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2008

County surveyor position to be full-time job again

July 23, 2008

Help wanted: Leavenworth County seeks full-time surveyor.

After considering making the recently vacated county surveyor position a contractual service rather than an in-house employee earlier this month, Leavenworth County Commissioners, on Monday, unanimously voted to re-advertise for the full-time job.

"The hardest part about this is to account for the intangibles," public works director Mike Spickelmier said in defense of keeping the surveyor an in-house position. "My own thought is the intangibles more than outweigh the expenditures."

The board considered input from planning and zoning and public works staff, planning commissioners, the county register of deeds and a private surveyor before making the decision to replace former surveyor Dan Schmitz, who tendered his resignation from his post earlier this month.

Spickelmier said despite spending approximately $70,000 each year for on-call surveying services, having a full-time surveyor is helpful in construction staking, making bridge measurements and assisting members of the public that occasionally come into the office with questions.

Planning and zoning director Chris Dunn added that a county surveyor is a vital part of the "three-legged stool" that is the planning process, along with the public works and planning and zoning departments.

Dunn complimented the county's previous surveyor as conducting "some of the best subdivision reviews I've ever seen," and he said, "The county will be better served with an in-house surveyor."

Joe Herring, whose Leavenworth-based Herring Surveying Company has often been contracted to perform survey work for the county, said the main thing is to be consistent, so the public is receiving the same quality of work in each case.

Herring also gave his support for rehiring a full-time surveyor.

Noting a large workload, Commissioner J.C. Tellefson said, "We do need someone that has the experience in-house," adding, "I don't think we need to hire more people, however, with the exception of the surveyor."

Spickelmier agreed, saying a two-person crew could perform 70 to 80 percent of the fieldwork required for the job.

Currently the survey department - now a wing of the public works department - employs one full-time technician.

Commissioner Dean Oroke suggested adding the requirement in an advertised job description that the next county surveyor be a licensed public authority in order to conduct certain inspections without having to contract for outside services.

In other business Monday, the board:

¢ Reviewed quotes for health insurance that were recently received by the county's insurance broker, Leavenworth-based Reilly & Sons Insurance.

Proposed plans included dental coverage from Delta Dental Plans Association at $17.94 per month for an individual, full-time county employee (paid for by the county) and $65.18 per month for families.

Premiums for a Humana medical coverage plan - with vision care - would be $409.17 per month for individuals (paid for by the county) and $903.02 for families compared to $448 for individuals and $949.76 for families under a current medical plan with UnitedHealthcare.

County administrator Heather Morgan noted reduced co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs and decreased out-of-pocket expenses as added incentive for contracting with Humana, and, she said, "All major doctors in Leavenworth are covered."

¢ Unanimously approved a $26,481 bid from Kansas City, Kan.-based Fagan Company to replace an air compressor in the Leavenworth County Justice Center that failed earlier this month, rendering the center's chiller ineffective.

According to special buildings director Tim Goetz, temperatures in some parts of the justice center reached the mid- to high-80s earlier this week.

¢ Accepted, 3-0, a $98,819 bid for a new sign truck for the public works department from Kansas City Peterbilt of Kansas City, Kan.

¢ Raised concerns about the efficiency of public works' road crews since moving to a 10-hour-per-day, four-day workweek in May.

"We adopted the 10-hour day thinking it would help them (the road crew) and help us be more efficient," Commissioner Clyde Graeber told Spickelmier. "If it's not happening, then we need to cancel that."

¢ Heard a quarterly report from county counselor-at-large Keyta Kelly, who reviewed completed and pending court of appeals, board of tax appeals, bankruptcy, small claims and nuisance and zoning violation cases during the 2nd quarter.

Kelly also informed commissioners that an application to bring the Kansas Sampler Festival to Leavenworth County in 2010 and 2011 is due Aug. 1. According to her, Sampler Festival representatives will conduct an interview and site visit in Leavenworth on Aug. 18.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from geographic information systems director Jeff Culbertson, who detailed mapping projects for abandoned cemeteries and rural schoolhouses in the county as well as his department's efforts to revise the county's floodplain map as a response to changes in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's federal floodplain map.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from county appraiser Donna Graf on a number of change orders, quality control renditions, field checks, building permits worked and other activities conducted in her department over the past three months.

¢ Heard a quarterly report form Leavenworth County Health Department Administrator Donna Martin.

Martin highlighted her department's efforts in creating a plan for special needs groups in the event of a public health emergency, requested the commission allow the donation of excess flu medication to area not-for-profit clinics and reviewed budgetary figures for the health department.

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