Cherokee County Commissioner Richard Hilderbrand assumed the 2010 Commission Chairmanship from 2009 Chairman Pat Collins on Monday at the county commission meeting. Commissioner Jack Garner made the nomination and Collins seconded it. It was carried unanimously.

Hilderbrand represents District Three and currently lives in Baxter Springs. He has served on the commission for just over a year, being elected in 2008.

“I look forward to the coming year representing the people of Cherokee County and District Three,” said Hilderbrand. “I very much appreciate Pat’s leadership over this past year.”

Collins completed his year as chairman and will remain as District One Commissioner. His district is up for election this fall and he has already filed for re-election.

“I enjoyed serving this past year with these commissioners,” said Collins. “I look forward to serving another one.”

The commission also made department head appointments. Leonard Vanatta will remain as Project Coordinator and Road and Bridge Supervisor, Cecil Brown will serve as Noxious Weed Officer, Jason Allison will head up County Emergency Preparedness Director, Kevin Cure will continue to serve as County Legal Advisor, Betha Elliot will retain her position as Health Director, Nancy Herrenbruck will serve as County Appraiser and Carl Hayes will continue as Environmental Specialist.

Collins opened the floor to nominations for county newspaper and Hilderbrand nominated the Galena Sentinel. Garner seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. The Sentinel will hold the county newspaper designation for a year.

The commission also approved the American Bank of Columbus, Baxter Springs and Galena as the county depository.

In other business Road and Bridge Supervisor Vanatta reported that the county roads were all passable now from the past snowstorms.

“We’re very glad for the coming warm weather to melt this off,” said Vanatta.

Vanatta and Assistant Road Supervisor Gene Langerot reported that their equipment had held up well through the cold weather.

“Our graders and our newest cinder truck all performed excellently,” said Langerot. “The only vehicles with ongoing problems are the electronics on the old state trucks.”

Commissioner Garner passed on thanks for snow clearance from Riverton School District Bus Coordinator Damon McCorkle.

“I very much appreciate the hard work of all of the county road crews on the Riverton school bus routes,” said McCorkle.

Langerot reported on the Coffeyville Community College welding class helping with whistle lengthening for culvert installations.

“The school kids learn to weld on putting our whistles together,” he said. “That is a good thing for us and for them,” Garner said.

Jason Allison reported on bids for three new storm sirens for Cherokee County.

He discussed bids from four companies.

“They will be covered by grants, Empire Electric and the siren companies,” said Allison. “There will be no cost to Cherokee County.”

The county will table action until Allison comes back with a recommendation for one of the bids.

“We want to be sure the sirens have mechanical sound systems rather than electronic ones,” said Collins and Hilderbrand.

Allison went over the locations for the new sirens.

“One will be located in Treece, another three miles north of Columbus on Hwy. 7 and the last one will be in Scammon,” Allison said.

Allison also briefly discussed a reverse 911 system for tornado and storm alerts.

“Cherokee County residents would sign up online at a website,” said Allison. “Then when the path of the tornado or storm is predicted – we call the residents in that path on their home or cell phone, whichever one they list.”

The system is still in the discussion phase. It is not currently implemented in the county.

The Sheriff and County Advisor met with the commission in separate executive sessions. No action was taken.

The commission will not meet on Monday Jan. 18 but will meet briefly on Tues. Jan 19 at 9 a.m.