Problem reported with new Peabody waterline

Marion County commissioners were told at their Monday meeting that the new waterline between Hillsboro and Marion had been incorrectly laid.

Gerald Kelsey, county road and bridge superintendent, and Mike Olsen, of Kirkham Michael, and acting county engineer for Marion County, came to discuss a recently discovered problem with the waterline recently laid along Nighthawk.

A county employee reported the problem to Kelsey who then, with Olsen, took pictures and returned to present the information to the commission.

Carol Maggard, county clerk, said after the meeting that the original road-crossing permit specified the trench dug for the waterline would be at the bottom of the ditch. The current trench is laying within 15 to 20 inches of the road’s shoulder, and some erosion of the ditch has already been noted.

“The lines were not being put where they said they would lay them,” Kelsey said later. “We had originally requested the lines be put down the road one mile west of Nighthawk, but engineer Al Reiss didn’t want to do that.”

Kelsey said Reiss had preferred having an access road to the lines in case of a possible leak.

Kelsey said fire hydrants were not on the back side of the right-of-way, but right in the right-of-way.

“They are supposed to have an inspector there,” Kelsey said, “but evidently he wasn’t doing his job.”

Maggard said Olsen was not recommending having the project redone because that would require a second trench.

The commissioners, Kelsey and Loveless will meet with Reiss at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, to discuss the matter in greater detail.

In other business, commissioners began considering sites to house the Community Corrections Attended Care facility.

Mike Wederski, director of county corrections for the Eighth Judicial District, Vickie Hewitt, director of the attended-care program for Morris county, and Loretta Klose, newly selected coordinator for Marion County, were present to update the commission on their activities.

Wederski said a $6,000 grant had been made available to the county for the set-up, including building, furnishings, training and salaries for those working in the project.

With Klose in place as coordinator, and 14 individuals signed up for training, the only thing left is a building to house the program.

Hewitt said the facility in Morris County was located in the basement of the courthouse, which made it accessible.

Klose said she had up to nine options to examine, though none were ideal.

Several options were discussed, including rental, moving office spaces to accommodate the facility close to the courthouse, and purchasing a building.

Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker agreed it would be nice to have the building close. He said doing so would keep money local, keep officers close at hand, and save traveling time from Junction City and back to Marion.

The building needs to have at least one bedroom, a bath, kitchen area, and a room for talking and watching television.

Klose will investigate some other options and suggestions and the group will come before the commission later in the month.

In other business, Sheriff Becker told the commission the jailer position was still open, and he was seeking to enlarge the position by having it be a deputy/jailer.

“This would offer some flexibility if someone is off (duty),” Becker said.

The commission supported the idea and instructed Becker to develop a job description, then meet with County Clerk Carol Maggard to determine correct classifications and salary.

David Brazil, of the Planning/ Zoning Dept., distributed copies of the Comprehensive Landuse Report. He said meetings would be held with the Planning/Zoning commission to explain the report. Another public meeting is planned for spring.

Brazil also asked commissioners to support House Bill 2171 which allows Kansas counties with less than 150,000 residents to set up code courts.

Brazil said having a court would help make code enforcement more expedient, as it would become a citation rather than an affidavit.

Brazil told the commission the Kansas Association of Counties, Kansas Association of Sanitarians, and Kansas Association of Realtors were supporting the bill, too.

Maggard reported that the November sales tax figure of $41,884 was $10,600 higher than for 1999.

Later in the afternoon, commissioners met with attorneys James Kaup and Steve Pigg in an executive session to be updated on county matters.

Jan. 31 meeting

Marion County Commissioners met Jan. 31 for regular and payday business.

Warrants of $666,070.82 were reviewed, approved and signed. Insurance premiums of $127,502 were part of the total amount.

Maggard said these premiums were paid once a year, making the figure look unusually high for the month.

Former commissioner Jack Bruner had been the commission’s representative on the Flinthills RC&D board.

Maggard said Bruner was also on the Foundation Board, an independent position of the commission, and had communicated his desire to continue on the board.

Maggard said she had contacted director Bruce Wells to determine if representation had to be a commissioner. He said it did not.

Commission Bob Hein said he did not know of another representative who was not a county commission member. After a short discussion, the commission felt Chairperson Leroy Wetta should represent the commission and Bruner continue on the separate Foundation Board.

Noreen Weems, director of Marion County Department for Elderly, was unable to attend the meeting but sent a report for January.

The “Older Kansans Day” in Topeka will be Monday, Feb. 12, Weems reported. The legislators meet with participants from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

According to the report, several legislators will join the group to discuss legislative issues. A group from Marion will be leaving for Topeka at 7 a.m. to attend.

County Appraiser Clint Anderson and County Attorney Sue Robson informed commissioners of upcoming substantial financial increases per-acre comparison on dry crop, native grass and tame grass for 2001.

Anderson said in spite of the actual value, previous estimates were set high enough to cause the increase.

“We just wanted you to know it was coming,” Anderson said.

He asked the commission to consider possible changes in classification for agricultural land that is being used exclusively for hunting purposes.

“We know of one individual who is planting milo right down the middle just to attract birds,” Anderson said.

He said the issue could be controversial.

Anderson is asking to change the “Agricultural” class to “Vacant at market value.” This would be a big increase in value and property taxes.

Robson cited a court case involving land-use type, and agreed it would be a difficult issue.

Commissioners agreed the Kansas Association of Counties should be consulted and other research done before attempting to define the land-use question. Robson and Anderson will come before the board later with the results of their research.

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