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Reno County Commission Reappoints Goertzen and Martin to Planning Commission


By Lucky Kidd


RENO COUNTY, Kan. — On a 4-1 vote, Reno County Commissioners Wednesday reappointed Russ Goertzen and Jack Martin to the Reno County Planning Commission. There are two members on the seven-member body up for appointment at this time. Goertzen, currently chair of the Planning Commission, is completing his second three-year term and this would be his final term due to term limits. Martin is completing his first term.

Public Works Director Don Brittain recommended their reappointment, noting their leadership roles and the fact three other Planning Commission members are currently early into their first terms. 13 citizens expressed interest in the positions, and Commissioner John Whitesel, who cast the no vote on reappointing Goertzen and Martin, said he did so only because of his belief that others interested should have been interviewed by the Commission.

Whitesel noted at least a couple of the people who applied did so mainly due to the commercial solar regulations now under consideration.

The Commission approved the 2024 contract with County Administrator Randy Partington that contains a couple of changes from past years, most notably making it a two-year contract rather than a one-year contract as in the past.

Another change combines base salary and other compensation into a single gross annual salary for 2024 of just under $202,000. This includes base pay, a monthly vehicle allowance, and the county contributions to his 457b deferred compensation plan.

Partington’s compensation includes the same pay increase given to other county employees for 2024 and will have a like adjustment for 2025, and also includes other provisions related to professional development as provided in prior years.

A change in how sewer fees are charged in two connected sewer districts north of Hutchinson was approved. Sewer District 3 and 10, which between them serve the Blue Spruce subdivision, have up to now been funded through a property tax assessment, but as of Jan.1, that will change to a monthly fee that a resolution set at $30 a month for residential connections, and $37 for light industrial and institutional connections, with the first bills to be issued in February covering January usage.

Commissioners approved policies related to a new diversion policy for first time felony drug possession offenders, making official policy of a memorandum of agreement between Community Corrections and the District Attorney’s Office. The Commission also adopted multiple resolutions creating reserve funds for the county’s sewer and water districts and authorizing transfer of unexpended general fund monies into the respective reserve funds so created. Specific funds were also created for the two grant funds associated with Community Corrections juvenile programs.

The Commission decided not to pursue a buy-down of the deductible on the county’s property insurance for 2024. The Commission earlier asked Bob Fee from Fee Insurance Group to prepare a quote for a buy-down, which would reduce the county’s deductible from two percent of building value, estimated in total at $1.8 million, to a flat $200,000 per occurrence. Fee said this would cost the county around $169,000 a year plus taxes and fees.