The surprise report at Monday’s county commission meeting that 47 bridges in Marion County have been been found to be unsafe for a school bus to cross was aptly described by the commissioners as “a bombshell.” Another metaphor might be “a straw”—as in the one that broke the camel’s back. Marion County has been accumulating a pile of infastructure challenges over the past couple of years, and the load is weighing heavy.
To name a few, the county jail is in need of major repair or replacement, and the prospect of fixing the multiple miles of deteriorating hard-surface roads across the county seem almost fanciful, given the high cost of oil products these days.
These are challenging days in Marion County and in rural Kansas, generally. As population declines, fewer and fewer people are available to contribute a reasonable share of the tax dollars required to maintain the infrastructure we all use every day of our lives and, at least until lately, that we usually take for granted.
Our commissioners have been criticized for some of the initiatives they have pursued to enhance our corporate future. In times like these, they need our ideas for maintaining even a reasonable present. —DR