After months of paperwork and waiting, approval is coming to put a pump on a water well in Cairo for refilling fire trucks.

The paper work to get a water well at Cairo that can be used to fill fire trucks is just a step away from being complete. Pratt County Counselor Bob Schmisseur presented the latest information on the well to the Pratt County Commissioners at their regular weekly meeting Nov. 20.

Schmisseur said he was informed that the well was going to be approved and the paperwork should be done by late December.

The well location is on Kansas Department of Transportation right of way so their approval was necessary to fit the well with a pump to fill water trucks.

Schmisseur said that even though the paperwork won't be finalized until late December, he felt confident enough that certain elements of getting the well ready should proceed.

The well will need electrical service and the type of pump needs to be decided.

"I think it's worth while to do some leg work," Schmisseur said.

Mark McManaman, administrator of emergency and medical services for Pratt County, said he had spoken with Crowdis Water Well Service and they said there was no need for a structure of the top of the pump. Schmisseur agreed and said since the well is on a KDOT right-of-way, it would be better if there was no building there in case of a vehicle accident. If someone had a wreck and hit the pump for the well, they could just replace the pump.

Funding for the project will come from the Special Equipment fund.

There have been some major fires in the area the last couple of years and Schmisseur said one of these years it will be our turn. Having this water supply will allow water trucks to fill and return to the site of a fire faster in the eastern part of the county.

Tim Branscom, Pratt County Emergency Manager, said there would be a multi agency resource training event on Nov. 30 in Pratt with several agencies in attendance. The goal is to establish a one-stop assistance area where victims of a disaster could go and make contact with any of the necessary agencies.

Branscom also informed the commissioners that NextEra Energy would file an application in December to construct a second wind energy farm in the southwest quadrant of Pratt County.

Pratt County Extension Agents Mark Ploger and Jody Drake presented their monthly board reports. Ploger said the Blasi family was not able to put in a wheat plot for the wheat plot tour because of other obligations. Pratt Community College contacted the Extension office and asked if they could host the wheat plot this year.

This would give the college agriculture program a unique opportunity for students to take care of the plot and directly observe the impact of soil types, rain, herbicides and pesticides on about 20 different varieties of wheat.

Funding for Extension Offices across Kansas will be getting a lot of attention. Kansas State University Extension has notified offices that enrollments are down and they will have about $900,000 less to work with in 2018.

Ploger is retiring as Pratt County Extension agent on Dec. 31 and the Pratt extension office has been seeking applications for a replacement agent. The Extension office at KSU will review the applications then hand over applicants to Pratt for interviews. Drake hopes to have a new agent in place before any funding issues impact the possibility of getting a second agent for the county.

Pratt County will be getting new street and avenue signs in 2019. The new signs will be for highways, black top roads and main corridors south of U.S. 54, said Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor.

This High Risk Rural Road project will start sometime after July 2018 and the county will be reimbursed for the project.

@GaleR_Tribune