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Thursday
October 17th, 2019

10 7 19 county and 4 h membersOlivia Breit, front left, and Charlee Cochran get their picture taken with the Seward County Commission after a proclamation was read by the 4-H youth and approved by the board at Monday’s meeting declaring the week of Oct. 6-12 as National 4-H Week in Seward County. L&T photo/Robert PierceROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

Several items were handled during Monday’s meeting of the Seward County Commission.

Two of those items concerned elections. The first was the purchase of two new items for the  county clerk’s office.

“I’m requesting to purchase an additional OVO machine, which is the optical scanner that scans all the ballots,” Seward County Clerk Stacia Long said. “Last year, I had to borrow one from Adkins, so I need to add to my fleet so we don’t have to borrow. I’m also asking for a ballot box. I do have the money in my clerk technology fund, and I would also need to waive the purchasing policy because it is a single source vendor.”

Commissioners voted unanimously to waive the purchasing policy and approve the purchase of an OVO machine and ballot box from Henry M. Adkins & Son, based in Clinton, Mo., for the price of $4,790.

The second item concerned placement of signs supporting candidates during an election. Seward County Counsel Nathan Foreman said he was asked by Long to look into the policy with an election on the horizon in the county.

“I reviewed our policy, and essentially after reviewing it, I decided it needed to be updated to comply with state statute,” Foreman said. “I worked with the county clerk, planning and zoning and Road and Bridge to look at this to make sure they were all okay since all of those departments intersect with what we’re doing here.”

Essentially, Foreman said during an election period, the county would have regulations concerning signs in county right of way that would make the area safe.

“Other than that, people can put up signs in compliance with this resolution,” he said. “Outside an election period, which is a 45-day period prior to an election, planning and zoning, with their own sign regulations, they kick in. It’s just during this 45-day period we regulate these signs and safety zones. Other than that, it’s just what we have with the planning and zoning department.”

Foreman said Road and Bridge Supervisor Tony Herrman had not reported any problems with the current policy.

“In fact, the policy where you have problems is normally in a city although, there are some counties that have adopted a resolution, and I believe our current policy to be in compliance with K.S.A. 25-2711 needs an update,” Foreman said.

“It was changed back in 2012,” Long said. “It’s just now catching up to us basically, but the law was changed in 2012. It essentially says we are not allowed to forbid placements of signs on right of way.”

“Except in situations where you have a safety issue, which we’ve defined what that is,” Foreman said.

Foreman added the policy applies to right of way along county roads only.

“This doesn’t even apply to state highways and U.S. highways,” he said. “This is only regulating our county roads. It’s pretty narrow as far as when this going to come into play, but we also want to protect our right of ways so you don’t have one of those four by eight signs right in front of a stop sign so they can’t see it.”

“I think the biggest change had to do with the timeframe of 45 days before and two days after an election when we can’t prohibit sign being placed there,” Seward County Commission Chairman Nathan McCaffrey said.

After the brief discussion, the commission voted 5-0 to approve resolution regarding placement of signs during an election period pursuant to Kansas statute.

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