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Becker and O’Dell Re-elected to McPherson County Commission for 2024


By Lucky Kidd


McPHERSON COUNTY, Kan. — Keith Becker was re-elected chairman of the McPherson County Commission for 2024 during their annual reorganization at Tuesday’s meeting. The meeting this week was moved from Monday due to New Year’s Day. David O’Dell was re-elected vice chair of the Commission for this year.

Sheriff Jerry Montagne gave a report on the department’s December activity which included 89 citations, 284 warrants, and a total of 243 civil processes served, of which the bulk were assorted summons and protection from abuse orders which accounted for 162 of the total. As of Monday, there were 51 people in the detention center, three of which are female, with 17 arrests over the prior week. The Commission approved a step increase for a patrol sergeant and hiring of a correctional officer, that hiring bringing the jail to full staff.

McPherson County Commissioners approved hiring of a new dispatcher for Emergency Communications. Emergency Management and Communications Director Julie McClure said this will leave them three positions short of having a full staff.

McClure also gave an update on the radio system projects. On the Canton site the antennas are in place, but a “sweep” of them still needs to be done before it can be put online. She told Commissioners she expects to finalize shortly the purchase of the site for a tower in the Windom area, and she said if all goes well that site could be up and running in 6-8 months.

Public Works Director Tom Kramer discussed with Commissioners arrangements for on-call testing services for asphalt and asphalt aggregates for this year, as material is starting to arrive for this year. While use of those services was minimal in 2023, he expected the expenses for 2024 will be in the area of 30 to 40 thousand dollars. They are currently soliciting bids for this service, but he noted the availability of it is limited. This will be discussed further at a work session next week. A personnel change notice for the end of introductory period for a recently promoted maintenance worker in the Public Works Department was approved.

Commissioners approved an amendment to the Community Developmental Disability Organization agreement with the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services related to $50,000 that had not been distributed to the local CDDO prior to the end of the 2023 fiscal year but has now been received.

Approval was given to the 2024 indigent defense agreements, which involves two primary contracts with local law firms and conflict attorney contracts with two other attorneys.

The Commission also approved a just over $225,000 payment applications from APAC Kansas for additional work done on a grant funded project in McPherson County Rural Water District 1 in the Roxbury area.