Geary County Commissioners held their weekly meeting Monday and heard from property owners, department directors and business owners. They also voted on the adoption of the 2021 Budgets for Geary County, Fire District #1, the Library, Water District #2 and Sewer District #4.

Ken Williamson, landowner with property on Laurel Canyon Drive at Milford Lake, spoke to commissioners about the state of the road leading to their properties.

“Coming in from the north you have a road closed sign,” he said. “Road closed to through traffic. The reason it is closed is it has a mud hole down there.”

He asked why the road hadn’t been maintained for what looked like many years.

Commissioner Brad Scholz said that currently Kaw Valley Engineering is doing surveys in the area to mark the right of way for the road.

“Once the survey is done there's a hydrology test that goes in with that survey for the culvert where that muddy areas so that doesn't happen again,” he said. “And we're looking at some time this year doing the ditch work of where the right of way is. We gotta get the right of way first and do the ditch work. And then after this ditch work, probably the first of next year we’ll be putting the road in.”

Scholz said he has been working on the problem since Williamson contacted him three to four months ago and will continue to see it through, but it takes time to do the work. Scholz said he would keep Williamson updated on the progress.

Commissioners adopted a resolution establishing the Geary County Convention and Visitor’s Committee. See the story also in this issue for more information.

There was brief meeting with Witt O’Brien’s during the lunch recess to check on paperwork and ask some questions pertaining to the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas program funds.

Tammy Von Busch, Geary County Health Department director, spoke to commissioners about criteria that the health department is working on with the school district on what to do with school starting back Aug. 31. She said the criteria will help with the overall deciding what is in the best interest of keeping the schools open or closing them.

“So, we will be working closely with Dr. (Reginald) Eggleston (Geary County Unified School District 475 superintendent) and Dr. (Debra) Gustafson (Interim executive director of Student Support Services) on determining what is going to happen,” she said.

Von Busch gave the COVID-19 updated statistics saying that Geary County has had a total of 194 cases — 36 are active with three currently hospitalized.

Commissioners voted on a resolution to amend the current public health order. The updated order states:

A. Masks

a. All businesses, organizations and non-profit associations must require all employees, customers, visitors, members or members of the public to wear a mask or other face coverings when:

i. Employees who are working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;

ii. Employees are in any room or an enclosed area where other people (except individuals who reside together) are present and unable to maintain a 6-foot distance except for infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

B. Mass Gatherings

1. All large public gatherings of people in the county are prohibited. Large public gatherings are those with more than 100 people in attendance or anticipated to attend, both indoor and outdoor, EXCEPT for governmental functions, judicial functions, all deemed essential industries as defined by US Homeland Security, and other approved activities, including these of USD 475 and other districts, including athletics and other school sponsored events.

a. More than 100 hundred people are authorized o occupy a building if the proper social distance between all non-cohabiting individuals is followed, and groups do not intermingle.

2. Large venues of more than 2000-people capacity shall remain closed.

The order has also been amended to be in effect for 14 days rather than the original 30 to coincide with previous public health orders.

Frank Corcoran, Geary Community Health administrator went before the board to inform them that the roof of the hospital — primarily over the westward expansion of the building — is needing to be replaced. It was last replaced in 2008.

“When they did it, I don't know why, but they used a membrane gauge that was half of it should have been,” he said.

He said the replacement of the roof was going to cost $470,000.

At the Aug. 17 meeting, commissioners held a budget hearing for the 2021 budgets for Geary County, Fire District #1, the Library, Water District #2, and Sewer District #4. At the meeting Aug. 24, commissioners voted on each budget. All budgets were unanimously approved and are being sent to the state.

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