Pratt County commissioners hear updates on work at Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake.

The unending saga of getting the inlet and outlet systems repaired at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake hit another snag but this time it was not weather related. Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor, told the Pratt County Commissioners that the concrete precast for the outlet valve arrived with an extra hole in it. It was supposed to have one four foot hole but showed up with two. The piece, supplied by a subcontractor, will have to be recast and there is a cure time before it can be installed, Freund said.
Work on the repairs had been progressing and had the precast been correct, he anticipated completing the repair work by June 21. But that time table has been pushed back until the new precast arrives. No new completion date has been set.
On the other end of the lake, the new inlet pipes have been installed and the road is ready for new asphalt where trench was used to install the pipe. The inlet valve area looks really good, Freund said.
A new Vonage phone system for the Pratt County Courthouse is getting closer to reality. Mark Graber, county IT person, said he will work with the department heads to assure a smooth transition from the old system to the new.
All the hardware has arrived. Graber said he will install the phones and run checks before the staff comes in the first day the phones are put in service to insure everything is working properly. It should take a couple of weeks to get the new system online.
Graber said the new county web site is up and running. All county services and departments are listed with contact information and hours of operation.
Looking ahead to upcoming projects, Graber said the county server is in good condition but its about five years old and he wants to replace it sometime within the next year. He wants to get it replaced before it becomes outdated.
Jason Winkel, Pratt County Land Fill manager, said he is getting a new tracks for loader at the landfill. The loader will has to go to Wichita to Foley Tractor for the new tracks at a cost of $29,000.
The loader has to go to Wichita for two days to have the new tracks put on. An older loader is down and unavailable, but Winkel said he could get by using the compacter until the loader is ready to go.
Winkel said he would get estimates on repairing the old loader and what it would cost to replace it.
Power was lost to the air conditioning unit at the Household Hazardous Waste building at the Recycle Center. Winkel said wiring between the recycle building and the HHW building was not encased in conduit so new wiring was installed in conduit to fix the problem.
Area businessman Don Queal, mulches and sells wood, asked the Commissioners if he could recover pallets at the landfill, turn them to mulch and haul them away.
However, Kansas Department of Health and Environment regulations prohibits removing pallets that come in with construction waste and 80 percent of the pallets at the land fill are from construction sites, Winkel said.
Because of that, the request was not feasible and denied.
Kim DeClue, Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce executive director and Ryan Breiner, presented information on Rural Opportunity Zones. This program, from the Kansas Department of Commerce, provides funds to help pay off student loans for students who graduate and move to Pratt. There has been an issue of people who were not eligible being on the waiting list. DeClue said the list was being cleaned up so only those who qualify can receive ROZ payments.
Breiner, who has been on the waiting list since 2013, lives in Pratt and said if it was marketed correctly, ROZ would bring people to Pratt.
The Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the efforts to get ROZ in Pratt.
Nancy Smith, community service work coordinator, presented a status report on her department. Currently, there are 44 open community service files with 18 from the Pratt County Attorney, 14 from South Central Community Corrections and 12 from Court Services, Smith said.
Locally, community service workers have assisted at Pratt County Recycling Center, Senior Commodity Distributions, Southwind Hospice Thrift Shop, Pratt Area Humane Society, Pratt County Food Bank, Red Cross Blood Drives, Pratt Area Public Transportation, DCG Commodity Distribution, Pratt County Health Department and the Pratt County Courthouse, Smith said.
Some workers have also completed their service hours at Salvation Army sites and some local Churches. Community Service Workers are scheduled to help clean up the morning after the fireworks display on July 6 at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake.
Several months ago the commissioners approved the purchase of a piece of land just east of Pratt.
Gary Barker and Trey Langford were farming the land at the time of the purchase. Barker and Langford  had questions about the status of their lease. Pratt County Counselor Bob Schmisseur will put together a new lease and present it to them at a future commission meeting.