Pratt County Commissioners are developing rules and regulations for kayak rental at the Pratt County Veteran's Memorial Lake.

Operation rules and regulations for kayaks rental at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake are one step closer to completion as spring and summer lake usage time begin. The elements of kayak rental were discussed at the regular weekly meeting of the Pratt County Commissioners on March 27.

Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor, said boat rental would be the responsibility of a part time employee at the lake. Tentative hours of rental would be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The employee would have other responsibilities beside doing Kayak rental.

Commissioners discussed several regulation requirements including life jackets for everyone, at least one person 18 or old in the boat at all times no matter who rents the boat, weight limits and other elements.

Safety is the top issue in operating the kayak rental at the lake. Not everyone who wants to rent a boat has experience so its up to the commissioners to develop a set of regulations that will keep the public safe.

"We need policies that make good sense," said County Counselor Bob Schmisseur. "Everyone wears a life jacket."

Each commissioner will develop regulations they want enforced on kayak rental and bring them to the next meeting where they will evaluate each list and determine the final operation regulations.

Storage for the kayaks is also an issue. There is no room left in the on-site storage shed. Freund said an fenced off car port might be the answer. That will also be discussed at the next meeting.

Several dead or decaying trees at the lake are scheduled for removal. After conferring with Seidel Tree Service, it was determined that several trees at the lake needed to be removed.

The commissioners voted to hire Seidel Tree Service for three days at $1,600 a day to bring the trees and limbs down then the county will load and haul them away. Barricades would be put in place to keep the public safe. No date was set for the tree removal.

Tim Branscom, county zoning administrator, traveled to Washington D.C. and met with Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, 2nd District of Kansas. They discussed emergency management grants, how they impact emergency operations and what impact it would have on emergency management if those grants were reduced including essential training programs.

Branscom said there was discussion about rolling grants into one big block grant and that could end up causing a loss of funds for emergency management.

Branscom also discussed the important relationship between the National Weather Service and emergency management especially with the wildfires in Kansas.

"They play an important part of what we do," Branscom said.

Mark McManaman, administrator of Emergency and Medical Services for Pratt County, said they have a 1989 Ford one ton fire unit they need to dispose of because of a lack of storage space at the Township 12 fire station facility on County Club Road.

He said there are no fire units in Cairo and that could be an option for the truck as well as at Coats and Iuka that have both expressed interest in the unit. McManaman will keep the Commissioners posted on the action taken on the unit.

Establishing a well pumping unit for fire use in Cairo in an existing well Kansas Department of Transportation used during highway construction is getting acton again. McManaman said he was waiting on an application for water rights before working on getting the water pump and County Counselor said he was waiting on a cost estimate on putting in the well pump before applying for water rights.

Both agreed to go ahead independently to get water available in Cairo. McManaman said it would take an estimated $10,500 for all labor and materials for the water pump system.

Resident Evan McCaskey asked the commissioners why taxes in Pratt County were so high. Commissioners explained that county taxes had actually gone done the past couple of years and that the county has no control over the other taxing entities including Pratt Community College, USD 382, USD 438, the city of Pratt or other taxing entities. Each of these entities sets their own mil levy and the county has no part in that process.

The county does act as a conduit for tax collection. Citizens make their tax payments through the county that then funnels them to the appropriate receiving entity. The county acts only as a pass through in these cases, said Pratt County Counselor Bob Schmisseur.

Anyone with questions about mil levys or other issues can attend board meetings, all open to the public, for the taxing entities: PCC Board of Trustees meets on the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Riney Student Center; Pratt USD 382 and Skyline USD 438 Boards of Education meet on the second Monday of each month (Pratt at 7 p.m. in the old library in the ACE building and Skyline at 7:30 p.m. in a classroom at the school with meetings at 6 a.m. in June and July; Pratt City Commission meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third monday of the month in the city building on South Main.

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