Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini told the Marion County Commission Monday that it would cost about one-tenth as much to locate emergency transmission tower at the new jail than at the road and bridge facility south of Marion.
The latter location would require a 400-foot tower at the cost of about $400,000.
At the higher elevation by the new jail, only a 92-foot tower is required and the cost would be $41,000 with delivery in 90 days.
D’Albini said using a single-spire tower rather than the conventional tower would increase the jail location price to $70,000.
Commissioner Randy Dallke confirmed that in the event the tower might be toppled by wind in excess of 200 mph, measurements show it would land at least 6 feet within county jail grounds.
Darvin Markley, the closest adjacent landowner, said, “I can’t see why you can’t put a repeater on the co-op elevator for transmissions from a smaller tower here. It needs to be looked at, anyway.”
Under questioning from Commission Chairman Dan Holub, D’Albini said, “A transmitter at the co-op would also send a signal back to us.”
D’Albini confirmed that it could cost thousands of dollars more to set up “sophisticated” systems to get signals corrected.
Commissioner Roger Fleming said as he and the other commissioners aren’t radio experts, they have to rely on D’Albini and recommendations from people who are experts.
Fleming said this means if those people are saying the proposed 92-foot tower is the best way to go, the commissioners probably need to approve it to keep the jail and emergency programs functioning.
Holub said the final commission decision depends on whether the Marion City Council approved a zoning variance for locating the 92-foot tower at its Monday evening meeting.
In other action with D’Albini, the commissioners approved his request for a seven-day dry weather burn ban throughout the county; it is renewable if no significant rain falls.
Teresa Huffman, economic develop director, told commissioners of developments that could bring new businesses into the county.
She said the former school building with its kitchen in Lost Springs is proving ideal for state schooling of entrepreneurs in food and dining products with delegations of pupils from as far away as Topeka.
Huffman said she also is working with a “validated” out-of-state person to obtain financing for purchase and renovation of the former motel in Florence.
Holub urged Huffman to take whatever actions she can to find a new business for the Kitchenmaster building in Lost Springs.
Huffman said one continual problem this county and other lower population counties frequently face is out-of-state speculative buyers of buildings waiting for chances to sell empty, slowly deteriorating buildings at large profit, not realizing such profits are unlikely here.
The commissioners agreed that rather than attempting to negotiate with a U.S. Postal Service representative for sharing drainage for the new jail, they probably will proceed with drainage development directly to the creek from the jail lot.
The commissioners said they approve of County Appraiser Cindy Magill’s expenditure with Great Plains Computers in Marion for computer equipment for Orian system storage of appraisal information that will increase its availability for the public online, but they still want her to follow protocol in getting other bids.
Magill said the new program will eliminate much of the paper volume her office is required to keep on hand, and it still can be printed upon demand for the public.
Peggy Blackman, coordinator for the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy program at Marion Reservoir, confirmed that with the current hot, dry weather, the potentially toxic blue-green algae infestation at Marion Reservoir is getting worse.
Blackman said she is working with a “very cooperative” U.S. Soil Conservation Service office at Marion and a landowner to get drainage areas planted on 320 acres of land north of the reservoir where topsoil is eroding at a rate of nine tons per acre each year.
She presented the invoice for the $20,000 the commissioners allocated for soil control at the reservoir this year, and asked them to also include $20,000 on next year’s budget for the program.
Blackman said when the program started several years ago, the county commission had begun its annual contribution with $75,000.
A citizen known to Dallke but not revealed left a partly shredded “blow-out” tire in the commission room after being asked by a county employee, who was contacted, said to call another department.
Dallke and the other commissioners asked Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford and Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards for departmental help in having county employees pick up road trash directly instead of having it referred to someone else.
The commissioners approved a final payment of $160,965 on an original amount of just over $1.6 million due Lafarge North America of Kingman for asphalt surfacing on the road from Tampa to Kansas Highway 15.
The commissioners approved a noxious weeds herbicides bid of $5,009 from Ag Service of Hillsboro over competitive bids of $5559.50 from Markley Service of Marion and $5643.80 from Farm Kan representing cooperatives at Hillsboro and Tampa.
Doug Lindahl of rural Enterprise, a Republican candidate for state representative, met with commissioners after they were told by retiring incumbent Representative Bob Brookens of Marion that he supported Lindahl.
Lindahl said he opposes the proposed state income tax decrease because the state would be, in effect, telling the counties to get along with property tax increases while also telling them “good luck with that.”
The commissioners asked him to help change the state system of valuating real estate at the same rates in rural counties as in wealthier urban counties.
Holub told Lindahl that Marion County is missing $2 million in annual taxes it could have had because of exemptions for the TransCanada Keystone pipeline and for farm equipment.
The commissioners met for executive sessions for 15 minutes for personnel alone, and for 15 minutes with Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene for personnel.