The tax abatement program in Pratt County expired on March 31. Efforts are underway to reinstate the popular program.

A popular tax abatement program in Pratt County has expired and efforts are underway to reinstate the program. The Pratt County Commissioners were made aware of the issue during their April 10 meeting.

D.J. McMurry, county appraiser, said the neighborhood revitalization program had expired on March 31. He was made aware of the matter when Terry and Michelle Gatlin applied for the program to help establish a new pharmacy on Main Street. They had applied just after the program expired.

To reinstate the program, all taxing entities in the county have to determine if they want to participate in renewing the program. McMurry estimates it would take about two months to complete that process.

Once all taxing entities have decided if they want in or not. Then an inter local agreement resolution to reinstate would got to the Attorney General's office for approval. If it is approved, it would be retro active to every application starting April 1, McMurry said.

The expiration will have no effect on those already in the program, just for new applicants. Neighborhood Revitalization is a three year program that can be extended in three year sections. It provides tax relief at varying levels over the life of the program in decreasing levels until it runs out and the party has to pay the full tax.

Commissioner Glenna Borho said Neighborhood had been around a long time and has done great things for Pratt County.

Commissioner David Ward said the commissioners were all for getting it reinstated.

Mark McManaman, administrator of Emergency and Medical Services for Pratt County, said they need a new recorder because the state has a new 911 system with instant recall and Pratt's recorder doesn't have a voice logger. There is money in the 911 account to pay for the new recorder. Cost for the equipment will include training officers on its use.

White said the new recording equipment would allow him to go into his office and review any audio at the same time an event, like a hostage situation was happening, without having to disturb the dispatcher.

The new recording equipment will cost $24,980 and be purchased through Voice Products of Wichita. It should take a day to install, McManaman said.

The room were the recorder and other 911 and other communication equipment is housed, has old pipes that have leaking issues. Pratt County Sheriff Jimmy White said that room is the first on his list to get pipes replaced in the basement of the Law Enforcement Center.

Doug Freund, road and bridge supervisor, said officials from Barber County had contacted him about ownership of a bridge that needs to be replaced on the county line and which county is responsible for getting it repaired.

The bridge doesn't appear on any of his maps and Barber County says they have no records of the five ton limit bridge. The bridge could probably be removed and replaced with a big culvert, Freund said.

Both road supervisors said they would go back to their respective commissioners and report the issue. Freund said he would do more research and get back to the commissioners at a later meeting.

Work is underway to remove some dead and rotting trees along the south side of the Pratt County Veteran's Memorial Lake. For safety, barricades are up to stop traffic and will stay up until the job is finished.

New gates has been installed and painted at the entrance of the road that leads to the island.

Kirkham Michael, consulting engineers for the county, have engineers evaluating the roads in the NextEra Energy Ninnescah Energy Wind Farm. The contract with NextEra stipulated the roads would be in equal or better condition than when the project began. This inspection is to make sure the contract agreement has been met.

Robert Torres, environmental services, said he had received only one response for summer help. This applicant had worked for him and Torres offered him the job. But the applicant he has a medical issue with a lifting restriction that would put him on light duty. The commissioners were concerned that if he were injured it could result in a workman's comp issue. They instructed Torres to request for applications again.

Jason Winkel, landfill manager, requested to purchase a new chain link fence around the recycle center. It's very rusted and needs to be replaced. Some of the oil filed stand pipes in the fence are also rusted and need to be replaced as well. The current fence is six feet tall and it might be best to tear it all out and replace it.

Winkel and the commissioners agreed to get a fencing expert to come examine the fence and standing posts to help determine what needs to be done. There is no fence on a portion of the south side of the landfill and it might be a good time to see about getting that replaced too, Winkel said.

"I'll get it inspected," Winkel said.

The rock crushers that have been breaking up concrete into usable size chunks, is nearly finished after having to stop work because of the rains.

The landfill is also ready for the special no-charge dumping week.

@GaleR_Tribune