By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
When it comes to first responders, the level of efficiency at which they operate can mean the difference between life and death – literally.
The Seward County Sheriff’s Department received permission from the Seward County Commission Monday evening to apply for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.
If the grant is awarded, Criminal Data Base Management Software and Computer Equipment Project will be purchased allowing intergration of all information onto one system for the convenience and efficiency of first responders throughout the City of Liberal and Seward County.
“The grant program includes purchasing a complete unified public safety software package for first responders, a new computer server, computer stations to log into the system and terminals for viewing the criminal data base in the County Attorney’s Office and District Court,” a narative summary by Sheriff Bill McBryde noted. “Current programs in place now will be replaced or linked by interface to the new software.”
A public hearing was conducted in order for McBryde to inform the public and for the public, in turn, to ask questions regarding the grant.
“Basically it would be a software and hardware package, all first responders will be together under one computer system,” McBryde said. “There are no matching funds on this grant, there is no publication requirement on this grant, it is the type of grant that is money that will be totally reimbursed. There is $2.8 million available for the entire state. We have no idea how much we will get, but that is what we are applying for.”
A motion was made by commissioner Toby Hale and seconded by commissioner Jim Rice to allow McBryde to submit the grant application.
In another matter, Weatherly Electric was chosen to perform the Seward County Fair Grounds electrical upgrade for a total cost of $246,134. The project will be completed in three phases: Phase 1 to be completed by July 30, Phase 2 to to commence following the fair and Phase 3 following the completion of Phase 2. The project will be funded by monies from reserve claims.
Seward County Planning and Zoning Administrator Stacy Johnson explained the bid process and the need to complete the project in three phases.
“We opened bids last week on the electrical upgrade at the fair grounds,” he said. “What we asked the contractors to do was to do it in three phases. We are going to do one lump sum together. But we are going to phase out this project. There is a phase that we have to have done before the fair, a phase we want done right after the fair is over and the third phase can be done at some other time.
Transformer overload in the ag building, Johnson said, is the need for Phase 1 to be completed prior to the beginning of the fair.
“The problem is the transformers on the ag building,” he said. “So, in order to be able to have a functional fair, we have to get some of that load off the existing transformers. By doing this Phase 1 here, we are able to take the ag building off that load, we are able to take the food vendor stations off that load and the RV park and carnival off of that load. So, that is going to greatly reduce what is on those transformers, so we shouldn’t have that problem this year. I have spoken with Southern Pioneer Company and they are very aware of this and agree that is what we need to do. That is the part that we can get done before fair time starts.”
Phases 2 and 3, Johnson said, can wait until after the fair.
“Right after the fair, we will go in and start tearing into the ag building, under the grandstand, concession stand and things like that,” he said. “We had three companies pick up plans and we had two companies bid on the project. We totalled all three phases together and we are asking that you accept the low bid with Weatherly Electric for $246,134.”
A motion was made by Steve Eisenhauer and seconded by Jim Rice to accept the low bid from Weatherly Electric in the amount of $246,134. B&B Electric submitted a bid in the amount of $328,630. The motion carried five to zero.
As for the upcoming election to several vacant seats on the Seward County Commission, commissioner Stephen “Ike” Eisenhauer is still unsure if he would like to further his political future.
“I have the paper work at home,” Eisenhauer said. “I just haven’t made up my mind, yet.”
Eisenhauer and any other prospective candidate has until noon Thursday to file for candidacy.