Written by Jerry Engler Tuesday, 31 October 2006 18:00The Marion County Commission met Monday in a $710,026 payday meeting.
County Clerk Carol Maggard said the total payout figure was boosted by regular payments for programs such as extension, soil conservation and mental health.
Bobbi Strait, director of planning, zoning and environmental health, said she has been investigating what other counties are doing about rural sewage lagoons that were built too large for the households they serve.
She said lagoons must maintain a 3-foot or more water depth to have normal turnover for the microorganisms to clean the water. For a 45-foot lagoon, she said, this requires an inflow of at least 4,000 gallons of water.
When not enough people live in a home to be using that much water, or when there is a drought situation and rain does not contribute, it becomes a major health issue, she said.
The water can remain highly polluted, create odor problems and become a mosquito breeding ground if the inadequate water forestalls purification, she explained.
She cited a current situation where a single parent in an older home wants a son and his family to return to build a new home on the farm.
The application doesn't comply with current zoning rules, but Strait said she is inclined to grant it because it would "salvage that lagoon" by having more persons on the property. The family also has agreed to tear down the older home when the parent no longer needs it, she said.
Commissioner Randy Dallke said he wished people could lookdown the road to possibly splitting one of the homes off into a three-acre tract and possibly still covenant to use the same lagoon. He said the older home was well kept enough that he wouldn't mind seeing a whole town of such homes in the county.
Commissioner Bob Hein said the owners could be allowed the flexibility to decide for themselves what to do with the two homes in the future. He said two owners could share the lagoon, or it could be filled in, and two new lagoons built for separate properties.
Hein suggested the problems with the lagoons and decisions could point to the future need for county building codes.
Dallke said it also could point toward more help needed in Strait's office because building codes and lagoon questions could require in the future up to four trips for inspections of one home.
Planning Commission Eileen Sieger said there are further problems with lagoons not being kept free of trees and not being fenced properly.
The commissioners asked Woody Crawshaw, who does computer accounting for emergency medical services, to also look at doing cross accounting for the health department. They noted that Crawshaw already is familiar with dealing with Medicare.
Road and Bridge Director Jim Herzet noted that many of the road problems in the county occur because the roads "were designed for half-ton pickups," and much heavier vehicles are running over them today.
As a consequence, he said many of the roads will have to be torn up, and a heavier base established under them.
The commissioners awarded a 6,550 gallons diesel area fuel bid to Cardie Oil Co. of Tampa on a bid of $13,652.70 over a competitive bid from Cooperative Grain of Hillsboro.
Michele Abbott-Becker, director of communications and emergency management, reviewed 20 percent sharing grants with commissioners that could be used for hazards assessment of the county and for updating its response plan.