Marion County commissioners heard at Friday’s payday meeting that a potential buyer has been identified for the reportedly abandoned motel at Florence, but the process of moving forward on a sale has been challenging.
Teresa Huffman, the county’s economic development director, said she has repeatedly asked for terms on behalf of a buyer who wants to buy and upgrade the motel which is now in a state of disrepair.
The commissioners verified that the former mortgager on the motel has abandoned claim in favor of the county taking possession.
Holub said the county would want to be paid for back property taxes, perhaps up to $40,000, but might forgive that claim with successful operation and payment of taxes by an owner who would upgrade the business and pay current taxes over 10 years.
Commissioner Roger Fleming said he favors operation of the motel, but that it should be done through the state’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program rather than the county granting favors when it doesn’t for other vacant properties in the county that have abandoned tax responsibilities.
Huffman said the proposed owner coming from out-of-state would need solid operational terms before moving his family here.
Gary Diepenbrock, rural Lincolnville, addressed the condition of county roads, especially low-maintenance dirt roads, and to offer possible solutions.
The commissioners discussed several options, including seeking a loan to buy equipment and hire a crew to rebuild roads without pulling current staff off of projects, hiring a contractor to rebuild roads, closing low-maintenance roads, and even allowing large farm/ranch operators to assist with maintenance on roads they use frequently when county employees are working on higher-priority projects.
Fleming and Holub thanked Diepenbrock for his suggestions. Those present had no problem allowing farmers/ranchers with appropriate equipment to help keep low-maintenance roads passable for their operations.
Fleming said any resident wishing to perform work on low-maintenance roads should contact Randy Crawford, road and bridge director, for approval prior to performing any work.
In other business, the board:
• formally approved membership of a task force to explore a countywide single-stream recycling program.
Members are: Dan Holub, chairman; Rollin Schmidt, technical consultant; Francie Mueller, USD 397; Traci Werner, Florence; Eileen Sieger, rural Marion County; Larry Smith, Goessel; Larry Paine, Hillsboro; Joe Vinduska, Lincolnville; Doug Kjellin, Marion; Adam Stewart, Marion County Record.
• approved a $16,108 area fuel bid for 5,300 gallons of diesel from Cardie Oil Inc. of Tampa over a competitive bid of $16,148 from Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro.
• received notice from the state that the French Frank’s Segment of the Santa Fe Trail through Marion County has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
• approved transactions during a $1,051,917 payday session.
• heard from County Clerk Tina Spencer that the county received sales tax funds from the state totaling $54,856 for regular collection and $48,239 for jail bond repayment.
• heard the county had received a refund check for $25,202 from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas due to a surplus in the county’s group health insurance reserves and positive claims experience for the year ending May 30.