Ford County grants extension to disaster declaration

Judd Weil
Dodge City Daily Globe

The Ford County commissioners voted unanimously on Sept. 8 to maintain Ford County’s proclamation of a local disaster emergency, extending it to Nov. 17.

“We still have the test site going on, we still got resources coming in, ordering PPE from the state, and in able for us to keep that going and it not costing us, we still have to have a disaster declaration,” Ford County emergency manager Rex Beemer said.

Beemer also presented the Kansas Region D Hazard Mitigation Plan for Ford County to Ford Counter commissioners, who passed it 3-0.

County engineer Jon Halbgewachs gave a brief update on ongoing activities since his last visit with the commissioners in August.

Work continues with the Road and Bridge Department on the Off-System Bridge 31 Replacement Project and Road Realignment.

Advertisements for contractor bids for the Jewel Road Reformation Project are currently underway and are expected to take place Sept. 21, with a recommendation for a bid to take place at the Ford County commissioners meeting on Oct. 5.

Active work continues with the Iron Star Windfarm, and according to Halbgewachs, developers are wanting to start construction within the first week of October.

“Just so everybody knows, when they say start construction, you are not going to see a wind tower pop up in October,” said Halbgewachs. “It’s going to be mobilizing equipment, clearing sites for their laydown yard and for their field offices, so you’re not going to see a whole lot of visual activity for about the first year.”

The Kansas Department of Transportation is moving forward with the US-50 highway expansion project between Dodge City and Cimarron, with the intent of bidding to contractors at the end of 2021 and starting construction in 2022. Currently, KDOT is working on pre-construction activities.

This project will reformat US-50 highway from a two-lane to a four-lane road, with construction projected to end in 2024.

Halbgewach presented the agreement to allow Kirkham Michael to complete the biennial routine bridge inspection for Ford County, which includes 164 bridges and was passed 3-0.

Ford County commissioners passed 3-0 an agreement on behalf of Ford County to allow Kirkham Michael to provide engineering services before, during and after construction of the Iron Star Windfarm Project.

Commissioners also passed 3-0 for the general election canvass to take place at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 12.

The 2021 Budget Discussion led to a motion being passed 3-0 and recognized a 5% salary increase for Ford County EMS service people.

Consequently, the 2021 Budget Discussion facilitated a separate special meeting with the fire district, immediately following the normal session, that approved to publish a budget hearing for Sept. 21, due to the fire district having its own budget.