The fate of the historic bridge just south of Lindsborg remained unclear after Tuesday’s meeting of the McPherson County Commission.


The fate of the historic bridge just south of Lindsborg remained unclear after Tuesday’s meeting of the McPherson County Commission.
Members of the commission were disappointed by the high costs associated with keeping the bridge open to vehicle traffic and mentioned alternatives to its current state.
The commission had previously asked Public Works Director Tom Kramer to provide cost estimates for state required fracture critical inspections to the bridge. Kramer said at the meeting it would cost $15,925 to conduct an initial inspection of the structure, followed by subsequent annual inspections at an added cost of $11,925. A load rating also would have to be paid for as a part of the initial inspection at a cost of $2,550.
Commissioners did not take any action on the matter, but did agree to discuss the matter with Lindsborg city officials after the holidays. They said unless the city is willing to help pay for annual inspections to the bridge, the county might consider alternatives to its current status, which might include closing the bridge to vehicles.
In other news:
• Commissioners approved the purchase of a new skid steer unit with forestry attachment for use in the removal of trees on county property. Of the four units considered, commissioners chose the least expensive, a Bobcat S750, despite the fact that it’s listed horsepower was below the specifications sent out in seeking bids from dealers. Commissioner Duane Patrick voted against the purchase, citing disagreement with the purpose of the purchase and not with the unit choice itself. The unit and associated attachments will cost $63,988.11.
• Following the action, a request by Kramer to hold a 10-minute executive session including County Administrator Rick Witte was approved.
• McPherson-based King Enterprises was chosen to construct at concrete retaining wall and footings for the county’s recycled asphalt pavement system. Of the three bids received for the project, King Enterprises was far lower than competitors at $57,182.50, slightly below cost projections by Public Works officials.
• Health Department Director Fern Hess was given permission from commissioners to request bids for a new vehicle for her department. Hess plans to use funds set aside in her budget to purchase a new 4x4 vehicle to replace a 2000 Jeep Cherokee. The trade-in value of the currently owned vehicle is estimated to be about $3,000.
• Hess also said the county had distributed a moderate number of flu vaccinations since September. Of its 1,020 doses, the Heath Department has administered 725, a number reflective of what the Kansas Department of Health and Environment considers an average flu season.
• A 15-minute executive session was conducted under attorney-client privilege to discuss “potential litigation.” County Planning and Zoning Administrator Kenneth Cook and  Witte were included in the meeting. At the end of the initial 15 minutes, commissioners briefly returned to the meeting room to extend the session for an additional five minutes. No action on the matter was taken following the session.
• Neal Schierling, a captain on the Inman Fire Department, was appointed to a vacant seat on the board of McPherson County Fire District 5.
• Commissioners released a mortgage associated to a home grant issued through the county as well as three quit claim deeds associated with Crestwood Cemetery.
• A retail dealer’s license was issued to Lindsborg Golf Course for 2012.