County Commission discussed surveyor review position

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram

Finney County Survey Reviewer position was discussed at the Finney County Commission's regular meeting Monday. 

No changes were made to the position or how it's run.

Current County Survey Reviewer Dave Matthews has express his interest in keeping Kevin Knoll as his deputy until his license expires at the end of March 2023.

Matthews has recently moved to Wichita.

In July, Commissioners discussed the review process for the County Survey Reviewer, during that meeting, some surveyors expressed issues they had with the County Survey Reviewer and some surveyors expressed that they did not have issues. 

During the July discussion, Commissioners discussed the possibility of opting out of the County Survey Reviewer. Staff recommended against this option as  Neighborhood and Development Services does not have the resources or capability to perform the duties a County Survey Review would.

Knoll, who works out of Hodgeman County, said at Monday's meeting that he is in Finney County at least once a week and has been working a deputy for the past year or so doing reviews, so if Matthews is out of town, he can take care of things and if he is out of town there is somebody underneath him to make sure reviews move along.

"I'm in Finney County at least once a week, so nobody can complain that Dave's moved to Wichita, and actually mail service to Wichita and back is better that it is to a lot of other areas right now because all of the mail goes to Wichita anyway," he said. "I can get returns from Dave faster now that I could when he as living in Holcomb because of the way the mail service works."

Burt West, a surveyor with Pro-Stake Survey, said he would like there to be more than one reviewer to make the process more streamlined. 

"I see no reason why we shouldn't just have any licensed person review," he said. "Probably the biggest complaint that we've had is from our customers is the lengthy process that it takes to do all the survey reviews comparatively to what it was in the past. We just want to streamline it as fast as we can."

Ken Parks, a private surveyor, agreed. 

"If we were to open it up to multiple surveyors, which does happen in other counties in western Kansas, then a person like me, a private surveyor, would pick one or two that I would normally use," he said. "There won't be anything noticeable at Planning and Zoning, everything will come in with a licensed surveyor reviewing the survey. They won't even know that a surveyor has been changed and it gives me the flexibility to allow me to take care of my clients and get things done on time just as well as we do now."

County Counselor Linda Lobmeyer said she doesn't believe there's anything in state statute that wouldn't allow a group of individuals do that as long as they meet the requirements. 

Commissioner William Clifford liked the idea of having Lobmeyer look into the possibility of having multiple survey reviewers.

In a letter to the Commission, Dave Matthews spoke against allowing any licensed surveyor to review plats.

"I know Ken Parks does not like the review law and would like to see it repealed, but since I have started reviewing surveys I have found to many errors on plats (including on Parks surveys) to think this is a good idea," he said. "Parks also would like you to allow any licensed surveyor to review his plats. I think this is also a bad idea, as it leads to conflicts of interest and “good old boy” situations."

Commissioner Dave Jones said he would rather just leave things alone as they are right now and not make any changes to how things are run until Dave Matthews "license expires or until something more serious comes to our attention."

Commissioners Larry Jones and Dave Jones agreed.