Among considerations were ideas like going to a four-day work week to save costs such as air conditioning, and cutting back on the miles of roads resurfaced each year.
The commissioners had just approved a more than $31,000 check for fuel presented by Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville.
Dallke said, to Summerville, “John, this is not easy, and we’re all responsible, but what can we do, all departments, not just road and bridge? We didn’t budget for $4.00 or $4.50 gallon fuel rates.”
County Commission Chairman Bob Hein said, “Yes, and it’s not over easy. It’ll just keep going up. We may have $5.00 soon.”
Commissioner Dan Holub said there could be a lot of cost savings benefits with a four-day work week, working longer hours daily. But, he wondered how it would work for the county to work with the state under such a set-up.
Dallke said employees might like having Friday, Saturday and Sunday all off.
Summerville said the idea was discussed among road and bridge workers, and the consensus was against the idea.
He said members of the road crews like to start early because of heat laying asphalt in the summer, so their days are typically from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They felt that working too late with asphalt would lead to too much heat fatigue, he said.
Summerville said a high percentage of road and bridge workers also farm on the side, and they value getting off earlier in the afternoons to do farm work at home.
He said routine mowing has already been discontinued to save fuel with summer mowing now on “a case-by-case, as-needed basis.” Roadsides will be mowed once in the fall, he said, to help cut down road snow accumulation for removal.
The commissioners agreed that persons who build new homes in the country probably will have to be told that the conditions of their road will remain the same as they originally find it. There won’t be upgrades.
They said patrons who want sand on the roads in front of their homes to cut down dust will have to pay for it themselves at a charge to be decided on.
The county pays $10.50 a ton for sand, Summerville said. He noted that Jackson County charges a minimum of $560 for sand application, and has only six patrons in that county willing to pay the price.
Summerville said his department has laid the layers of rock to create a better bed on the first mile of the Tampa Road from Highway 15, but will stop work there for a short time so as not to interfere with wheat harvest trucks.
He said that he also will look at low maintenance roads to grade them for wheat harvest because of illegal four-wheeling for recreation that cuts ruts in them.
The commissioners decided they will share costs evenly with Dickinson County on planning by the engineering firm of Cooke, Flatt & Strobel for replacement of a bridge near Ramona.
The commissioners approved paying $2,004.15 annual dues to the South-Central Kansas Economic Development District structured according to population levels among 14 member counties.
SCKEDD provides technical support for local governments, helps develop attractions and gives financial assistance to small businesses.
The commissioners approved a bid from Wray Roofing of Newton for $9,625 to repair leaks in the county jail roof.
The commissioners said they will follow up with a letter to a request from Ty Wheeler of Kansas Legal Services in Emporia for a $4,000 contribution to support legal help for Marion County residents who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford help.
Wheeler said the nonprofit KLS represented 30 Marion County cases last year with 22 closed, 8 advised, and 5 rejected.
He said they included 9 domestic violence, 8 Social Security disability, 2 other domestic, and 3 other.
The disability cases included 6 successful with $637 average monthly payment for $45,864 income directly into the county. This means the county should get back what it donates in sales taxes, Wheeler said.
Environmental Health Director Bobbi Strait said the county can require structurally unsound barns in the county to be burned if there is no unweathered paint, shingles, wiring, insulation, sheet rock or other such substances that also would be burned, according to state regulations.
The commissioners decided to pay $284 to Central Power Systems of Wichita for a generator and outlet panels for a performance by the band, Greenhorns, at Marion County Lake June 21, rather than pay $5,000 to Westar to run a line.
Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said he is getting quotes, and working with Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman to get grant money, to insulate the lake hall building.
The commissioners expected to close a purchase June 15 of a $25,000 metal building from the Lake Improvement Assn.
Rollin Schmidt, noxious weed, household hazardous waste and transfer station director, said work is beginning on spraying musk thistle in the county even though the wet spring has delayed efforts.
Schmidt reported a slightly lowered cost per ton on disposing of solid waste from the transfer station of $37 a ton achieved by hauling heavier loads averaging 20.44 tons a load for municipal solid waste and commercial and demolition waste.
He said that last month the transfer station took in 688.9 tons of municipal solid waste, 128.9 tons of commercial and demolition waste, 9.62 tons of white goods, and 2.2 tons of tires.