Written by Jerry Engler Tuesday, 29 January 2013 13:30
Litterbugs and junk dumpers beware.
Marion County Attorney Susan Robson was asked by the county commission Monday to write a new county ordinance that would give reward money of up to $500, pending successful prosecution, to citizens who turn in persons illegally dumping trash along roads in the county instead of taking it to the transfer station or a landfill.
Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said the commissioners are in agreement to end the growing roadside trash problem.
Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford has verified that his crews spend too much time picking up trash.
The only remaining question is to determine different consequences for persons who throw out paper litter or a garbage sack, and those who dump tires or entire truck loads of waste, Dallke added.
Commissioner Dan Holub said he has been contacting neighboring counties—Geary, Harvey and Butler—but none of them seem to have the same magnitude of problem as Marion County, perhaps because they are more populated.
Robson said she will check with less populous counties to the west to find if they are doing anything to contend with trash problems.
Commissioner Roger Fleming said the roadside trash is a major problem for the county, but he is even more concerned about Robson developing stronger enforcement for theft of road signs because “it is more dangerous.”
That’s especially so, Fleming said, with the growing problem of thieves stealing stop signs.
In another issue, the commission is sending letters to smaller communities in the county verifying its appreciation of the efforts to fill county-supplied recycling Dumpsters, but also informing them that because of the costs involved, the cities will need to start paying for location of the Dumpsters if they want to continue the program.
Dallke and Fleming both said the extra cost of the Dumpsters is unfair to communities like Peabody and Hillsboro where citizens pay an extra $2 to $2.50 a month for recyclable disposal, and then are asked to help provide funds for a service to the smaller towns.
Holub said the city of Goessel is running a very successful program with Dumpsters.
Dallke said that communities filling two dumpsters with 1,800 pounds of recyclables a month are doing a lot to help reduce the county’s waste stream to the landfill if the cost is effective.
The three commissioners also agreed to follow up with all school districts on an initiative begun at Goessel to make more recycling dumpsters available at schools because of their high-tonnage disposal of paper.
The commissioners approved Department on Aging Coordinator Gayla Ratzlaff’s decision to replace a fuel pump leaking gasoline on the department’s mini-van with fold-out gate ramp used to transport senior citizens to medical appointments. Ratzlaff said the van originally was purchased with Kansas Department of Transportation funding that no longer is available.
In keeping with the tradition of using state money to help start county programs, the commissioners approved Ratzlaff’s request to accept $1,500 for state funding of a six-week instructional course addressing senior balance problems in North Carolina. The commission also approved $1,000 in departmental funding for lodging during the training. Ratzlaff said the schooling would enable her to train other county workers.
The commissioners decided to withhold all payments for the Watershed Protection and Restoration Program until it is further determined what the county is getting for the money.
They also approved Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt’s withdrawal from the Kansas Organization of Recyclers at a cost of $120 a year because it duplicates other programs he participates in.
The commissioners agreed to fund anywhere up to $10,000 for Engineer Don McMican to prioritize and plan upgrades to the courthouse building to prevent any further deterioration.
McMican and consultant Greg Leslie agreed the greatest priority should be to complete roofing and sealing of the building roof and structures above the second-story gutter-line.
They said they would continue then with rock sealing, windows and structure repairs to prevent further deterioration over the next decade.
Crawford and the commissioners met with Kansas Department of Transportation Engineer Joe Palic to discuss a state possibility under consideration that would give Marion County perhaps $200,000 in one-time funding to assume responsibility for highways the state would turn over including a quarter-mile extension of Highway 15 going into Goessel, a half-mile of Highway 168 going into Lehigh, and 4.7 miles of Highway 256 going into Marion.
Holub said the biggest problem that would perhaps cause the county to reject the plan would be the Cottonwood River bridge into Marion that will require maintenance and eventual replacement at costs too large for the county to handle.
The commissioners approved Crawford proceeding with an attempt to purchase a dump truck in Virginia at up to $70,000 which would include cost for sending a road and bridge employee to drive it back.
Crawford said comparable trucks that need bed installation usually cost around $150,000.
In continuance of discussion from the Tuesday, Jan. 22 meeting, Crawford recommended to commissioners that they proceed with their plan to have the old county jail demolished using outside contractor bid. He said county-owned equipment is too small to handle the amount of steel imbedded in the walls and the top story concrete floor.
The commissioners and Crawford agreed to have stone from the demolition hauled to the road and bridge south shops to be used for rip rap on road embankments.
The commissioners approved a $300,000-plus option for next summer from Crawford to surface seven miles of Quail Creek Road from 290th to 360th, a half mile of Nighthawk west of Peabody, and 30th from Old Mill to the Harvey County line rather than a million-dollar proposal that included hard surface for nine miles of Remington.