Douglas County commissioners got an earful Wednesday night about the possibility of closing the Lecompton Bridge for repairs.
The bridge connects Douglas and Jefferson counties between Lecompton and Perry.
"You basically have one community that's intertwined and the bridge is the lifeline," Lecompton resident Mike Stewart said at the commission meeting at the Lecompton Community Building.
More than 100 area residents attended the meeting to voice their opinion on whether the commissioners should leave one lane open or close the Lecompton Bridge to replace the roadway.
"A decision has not been made," Commission Chairman Charles Jones said about the bridge. "We are gathering information and we need some sense of what we would like to do in order to direct consultants on this project."
Residents at the meeting made it clear that at this time they preferred leaving one lane of the bridge open. They had concerns about the potential affect on area businesses, communities and Perry-Lecompton school district students if the bridge closed for repairs.
The bridge project is estimated to cost $4 million. Douglas and Jefferson counties would split the cost of the project based on property valuations in the two counties.
It's thought that the project would take about four months to complete and cut the $4 million cost by about $600,000 if the bridge is closed. Leaving one lane of the bridge open would stretch the project to about nine months and it would be closed to tractor-trailers.
Commissioners OK budget for 2006
Douglas County commissioners unanimously approved the 2006 county budget following a public hearing Wednesday night.
No county resident commented on the budget.
The commissioners will levy 30.075 mills in property taxes to fund next year's $49.3 million budget. The county levied 29.856 mills to fund this year's budget of $47.5 million.
A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Part of the increase in the mill levy is the result of the County Commission's decision to fund a local bioscience initiative.
The county's budget also provides for 10 new staff positions - four with the public works department; three with the sheriff's department; one with the county clerk's office; one with the district attorney's office; and one with the zoning and codes department.