Written by Jerry Engler Tuesday, 20 March 2007 04:01
The Marion County Commission Monday continued its push to clean up salvage yards, this time meeting with yard operator Danny King of Peabody and Zoning Director Bobbi Strait to see if King will be given a conditional-use permit to continue his business where it has been for years.
The commission focus on yards began with complaints that yard owners had vehicles parked on and spilling over onto county roads’ rights-of-way.
Although King seems to have met county concerns regarding vehicle spill-over, Strait said she has yet another complaint on the same sort of situation with another salvage yard.
Commission concerns increased when it was discovered that salvage yards haven’t all been licensed by the state required.
All three county commissioners listened to the County Planning and Zoning Commission deliberate whether King should receive a permit, and the zoning group sent the matter to the County Commission for final decision.
Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said considerations voiced included King’s having a house parked on a neighbor’s property for over a year, a high pile of dirt, rock and broken concrete, disposal of oils and lubricants, high visibility of stacked salvage vehicles, and non-completion of fencing and tree planting to screen the property.
King said he has been hampered in yard cleanup because of health problems that required amputation of several of his fingers, and that he has just now recovered. He said he wanted to delay $10,000 worth of fence construction to see if his license is approved by the state.
King said his meeting state requirements should satisfy most county concerns.
He noted that he has transplanted 150 cedar trees for screening.
He said he couldn’t see why his pile of dirt, rocks and concrete is a concern to anyone else any more than a pile of county materials for road construction is a concern. He said the materials would be used to raise an area for drainage on which to put a shop building.
Dallke said such an area should be planned so as not to increase drainage problems on neighboring lands or county ditches.
In reply to Dallke, King said he has never surveyed his property, but has just gone by bounds according to where rural fence lines were placed in earlier times.
Dallke and Commissioner Dan Holub both said they “weren’t in the mood” to take actions that would close a county business, but also warned King that he would have to complete improvements on a scheduled basis to get a permit.
Commissioner Bob Hein was absent for medical reasons.
Dallke said: “A survey’s just got to be done. I get my property surveyed. You need to, too, and show us you are keeping it all cleaned up. You’ve put us in the position of setting some deadlines here.”
Dallke said he would require that the surveying be done in the next 90 days, and that the fence be done by Oct. 1. He wanted to see more tree planting done with care to keep branches out of county right-of-way, and action taken on reducing the amount of stacked salvage. He wanted everything confined to King’s own property.
Holub agreed, and added that he wanted to see planning for disposal of fluids.
Sheriff Lee Becker and County Attorney Susan Robson met with commissioners to consider wording of a resolution that would allow the county to collect part of the expenses it incurs because of a jail prisoner back from the prisoner.
Becker said that for repeat offenders, it may send a message to them to move to some other county because Marion County is going to collect from them. He said even when a prisoner is transported for medical or other purposes, he may find, “if our wheels are turning on your behalf, you’re paying for it.”
Becker and Robson noted that the county can’t take money away from prisoners that they come in with or seize other property without a suit filed and due process of law. They warned that the county would need to take care not to take money ahead of court hearing because that could deny bond and due process to the prisoner.
They said the county would be able to collect in the form of labor by having prisoners work at the transfer station or on the courthouse grounds at the discretion of the sheriff.
Becker noted the recent inspection of the jail by the State Fire Marshall’s Office had included negatives such as nobody available to release prisoners within four minutes of a fire, and open air passages left during recent upgrades, such as air conditioning, where fire could gain entry to the interior structure.
Road and Bridge Director Jim Herzet said his crews would chip and seal 52 miles of roads throughout the county this year using 35,000 gallons of sealing oil purchased for $320,000 and 168 tons of rock valued at $100,000.
A consulting county engineer and a consulting City of Marion engineer will meet to consider cooperation and a time table for upgrading Marion’s Third Street as the extension of Sunflower Road coming into the city in return for the wear it received while the state was rebuilding U.S. Highway 77.
County consultants are now saying, with the increasing costs of petroleum and other products, that constructing 10 miles of Sunflower will now cost in the neighborhood of a million dollars. The state gave the county half that amount to compensate it for U.S. 77 detour traffic.
Appraiser Cindy Magill said property valuations will be mailed this week to county residents.
She estimated that city residents and rural residents will find that their valuations have risen about 3 percent.
She and the commissioners explored how tax abatement returns favor to tax payers or the county if filed based on the previous year in January or February before new values are used in March.
The commissioners authorized County Clerk Carol Maggard to get bids for foundation repairs at the courthouse and at the county health department building downtown. Maggard said that last year when foundation bids could have been tied to other work in progress, the cost would have been as little as $2,000 to $3,000.
After meeting with Blue Cross Blue Shield representative Tim Oglesly, the commissioners will require mandatory meetings for employees to decide which of three options they each want for health insurance, a benefit the county offers that has gone up more than a third because of recent use history.
The employees also will be offered a disability policy to cover two thirds of normal salary up to $500 a week for a premium of $1,407.25 annually that remains in force permanently or until KPERS takes over.
Emergency Medical Services Director Larry Larsen discussed increasing ambulance mileage charges, eventually increasing the number of rescue trucks from two to six for backups and better response, and his increased efforts to meet with crew chiefs.
County Health Director Diedre Serence asked commissioners’ help in obtaining a 12-foot-by-16-foot storage building for storing car seats and generator.
She needed commissioners’ signatures on about $36,000 in state grants she has applied for including standard programs such as maternal and child care, licensing and immunization action plans. Last year the latter was used to furnish Hillsboro and Marion schools with tetanus vaccinations, she said.