Written by Jerry Engler Wednesday, 01 August 2007 09:29
County cities want more for the contributions they make to the county’s road and bridge budget under an outdated 1973 agreement, mayors and representatives told the Marion County Commission Monday.
Commission Chairman Randy Dallke and Commissioner Dan Holub said they would start by looking at state designations for farm-to-city Fishing Access Site (FAS) routes into the cities.
Commissioner Bob Hein was absent from the meeting.
Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke noted that designations for these routes, which connect with county roads coming into and out of the city, are out of date with changes since 1973.
For instance, she said, only Ash is designated as an FAS road in Hillsboro while the designation might also belong with streets such as D and Adams, especially since old U.S. Highway 56 became a county road.
The county is charged by state statute with providing maintenance help on FAS routes into its cities. Holub questioned whether the cities would rather see help come as limited cash disbursements on improvements, or as access to help from county workers on projects.
Holub said county help has been provided with machine and employee hours free while cities pay for their own materials.
“All you have to do is ask us,” he said.
Mayor Dalke said Hillsboro has not asked for help, and when given some help, such as on Industrial Road, the city paid for the project.
Marion City Administrator David Mayfield said the issue has more to do with inequitable services or reimbursement received for tax money provided.
He said Marion residents pay $170,000 taxes into road and bridge funds while they receive $302 a year back.
“We can’t even blade one snow off the streets for that,” Mayfield said.
The commissioners acknowledged a comment that such taxation originally was justified as a method to bring traffic from the outside to cities for benefits such as shopping and trade.
Chairman Dallke agreed that Third and Cedar streets still are FAS routes for Marion, but wondered about Walnut Street being outdated as a major traffic road.
The commissioners seemed to agree that another Walnut Street, the main street of Peabody, is an FAS route.
Road and Bridge Sign Director Dennis Maggard said there are also roads such as Eisenhower into Marion that are treated like FAS routes but aren’t really because they don’t provide true county road links through town. Eisenhower dead-ends in the city.
Mayor Dalke pointed out that the numbers involved in a 34-year-old agreement are so far out of date that the situation needs to be looked at anyway.
As an example, she said a mill in Hillsboro in 1973 amounted to $4,000. Now it is $15,000. She said she wouldn’t expect the county to fix three city blocks at $360,000, but some help would be nice.
Marion Mayor Mary Olson said 80 percent of a 1 percent sales tax in 1987 was to have gone to road and bridge, and the commissioners might recheck that funding.
She discussed county help on Lincolnville’s Main Street when she was on city council there as part of Durham-Lincolnville Road construction.
Holub said he would like to know which things cities want more, help provided by county personnel and equipment, which the county probably can do more easily, or financial help.
In reply to a notation from Mayfield that the needs of each city are different, Holub said, “Yes, but asphalt’s asphalt in every city.”
The commissioners discussed whether they would want to talk to each city’s elected governing body, or whether they would rather have each city submit what it wants from the county.
In other business, following a 10-minute executive session, the commissioners announced Gene Winkler of Marion as their choice for interim director for Emergency Medical Services.
He succeeds Larry Larsen, pending verification at the Tuesday payday meeting.
Winkler is an EMT, local businessman and a member of the Marion City Council.