Written by Jerry Engler Wednesday, 25 July 2007 06:09
Emergency Medical Services Director Larry Larsen resigned his position Monday at the Marion County Commission meeting , he said “due to personal conflicts.”
Larsen became EMS director in February, succeeding Darryl Thiesen.
Larsen announced the resignation himself after a 10-minute executive session with Commissioners Bob Hein and Dan Holub, Commission Chairman Randy Dallke was absent.
Neither Larsen nor the commissioners had any further comment. The ambulance department was troubled for several years with uncollected ambulance billings, but with efforts made during the terms of Thiesen and Larsen, the commissioners had considered the department up-to-date in financial accountability.
Larsen thanked both the commissioners and the public for giving him time in the position.
The commissioners promised Myron Schmidt, who maintains a golf course on his farm near Goessel, that they would support his efforts to have private golf courses taxed at a more comparable rate with public ones.
Schmidt said publicly owned golf courses aren’t taxed, while country clubs pay about 12 percent in taxes, and commercial courses, such as his, pay about 25 percent in sales and property taxes. This means he pays about $5,000 in taxes, Schmidt said, and he may soon have to go out of business.
He said he still has to stay competitive in green fees with the public courses.
Peggy Jay, mayor of Goessel, was there to confirm Schmidt’s contention that he built the golf course on his farm to benefit recreational opportunities for Goessel. Jay said Goessel has few public recreation activities, and Schmidt’s Pine Edge Golf Course gives everyone from school students to senior citizens a place to play. In a town without a wellness center, the golf course becomes a more important asset, she said.
Schmidt said he would have to get 500 customers annually now just to pay taxes.
County Appraiser Cindy Magill said she had been able to reduce Schmidt’s taxes some during a protest session, but it will take state action to change the final balance.
Schmidt said it would be helpful just to pay at an agricultural rate rather than a commercial rate.
Holub said there is a mood in government to keep public entities from competing with private enterprise. He said Schmidt’s notation that taxes take away the possibility of a part-time worker is good because, in current thinking, state and federal governments want jobs created.
The commissioners promised Schmidt help in writing letters and calling legislators for support, and they will get back to him.
Garrett Clay of Foley Tractor in Salina discussed terms with commissioners on how they might purchase about $300,000 experimental road graders that steer by “joy sticks” they have used under Caterpillar research.
The machines will be upgraded to new condition, but Clay said government discounts and trade-in credits will apply. Marion County’s participation in the program will be noted, too, he said.
County Clerk Carol Maggard said she has begun a program to notify land owners by mail whenever property adjacent to them is offered by the county at tax sales.
The commissioners told Maggard to conclude interlocal agreements between the cities of Tampa and Ramona with the sheriff’s office to provide enforcement of city ordinances. The City of Lincolnville also has such an agreement awaiting, Maggard said, but it has been delayed until questions brought up by the city attorney are satisfied.
Bobbi Strait, planning, zoning and environmental health director, said she would like her own monitoring device for blue-green algae at Marion Reservoir to enable her to take actions such as one-day closing of beaches when necessary. She said such short periods of time are what is necessary because an infestation releasing post-bloom toxins one day could be blown out of a cove by wind the next, and no longer be a threat.
Recent Kansas Department of Health and Environment tests found 12 species of the 103 species of the algae that exist, she aid. The tests were in terms cells per millimeter, she added.
In contrast, tests from the Corps of Engineers were measured in units per liter, she said. Having her own monitor would help her make more solid determinations, she said.
She and the commissioners agreed the county would be responsible in the end for basic health decisions.
Strait confirmed to the commissioners that there has been no word back on veterinary testing being done on dogs that died after drinking Reservoir water.
Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said a McPherson County youth bass club will hold a fishing tournament involving 20 boats, 40 kids and parents Sept. 15 at Marion County Lake. Hudson said he hopes Marion County kids will join the McPherson group to get more kids involved in the Central Kansas state tournament.
Commissioners split bids to award publication of 200 lake books at $2.47 each to Western Associates of Marion. The counter bids were $2.62 by Baker Bros. of Hillsboro and $2.70 by the Marion County Record.
The Marion County Record was awarded a bid of 11 cents each for 2,000 car mirror hangers against bids of 16.37 cents from Baker Bros. and 22.9 cents from Western Associates.