County signs option to buy transfer station

Marion County commissioners signed an option agreement in Monday’s meeting for first rights to purchase the transfer station from K.C. Development, along with an addendum verifying confidentiality regarding any business information revealed in the process.

The commission also authorized a payment of $5,000 to K.C. Development for the option, which will be applied toward the purchase, provided an acceptable price agreement is reached.

K.C. Development co-owner Rex Savage also signed the option and addendum.

This action was taken in response to issues related to the county’s contract with K.C. Development for solid waste disposal.

County Clerk Carol Maggard reported that all information related to county employee merit-pay increases has been received, and the 5 percent increase authorized for the 2001 budget would be applied to the next pay period for these employees.

Maggard reiterated the county’s goal is to have wages and salaries meet an 85 percent median for pay scales of positions in peer counties in Kansas with similar populations, valuations, private sectors and cities.

An employee’s annual evaluation determines the percentage of her or his pay increase. Those employees receiving outstanding evaluations receive a higher percentage. Maggard said raise increases for individuals can range from 3 percent to 6 percent, but the total increase in payroll is covered by the 5 percent allocated in the budget.

This package, however, does not cover part-time employees and elected county officials, she said.

The commission, following Maggard’s recommendation for part-time employees, approved pay increases effective June 21 of 2.5 percent and 2 percent, depending on the position.

The commission approved two exceptions, both in the Marion County Health Department and requested by Director Jan Moffitt. Considerations were added job responsibilities for one employee and the need to retain a qualified nurse.

The commissioners discussed various options for salary increases for elected officials.

Commissioner Howard Collett expressed general concern about the dilemma of increasing costs to the taxpayer during an unstable economy. Chairman Leroy Wetta stressed the importance of adequately compensating personnel who might otherwise choose to work in the private sector.

Finally, Collett moved to adopt a 3.5 percent increase for all elected officials, except the county attorney and county commissioners, who would maintain their current salaries. Wetta amended the motion by increasing the amount to 4 percent.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to approve the action, with Commissioner Bob Hein voting “no.”

Maggard requested the commissioners suggest a tentative percentage for pay increases she could use in figuring the preliminary budget for next year, and the commissioners recommended 4 percent.

In response to Collett’s request for the dates of the budget process, Maggard listed the following meeting dates:

–?preliminary budget, Aug. 1;

–?publish budget, Aug. 8

–?public hearing, Aug. 20.

The following department personnel presented their requests for the 2001-’02 budget:

–?Jan Moffitt, administrator of the health department;

–?JoAnn Knak, director of Emergency Medical Services;

–?Faye Makovec, register of deeds;

–?Bill Smithhart, director of Noxious Weed Office/Home Hazardous Waste;

–?Gerald Kelsey, superintendent of Road and Bridges Department.

For most departments, the budget requests were in line with those of the past year’s budget, except for pay increases approved by the commissioners in Monday’s meeting.

In other business, the commission:

–?discussed the month-to-month cost, cleaning and durability of using rented floor matting for the Courthouse and recommended adopting a more cost effective choice when the current lease agreement expires;

–?approved a request submitted by David Brazil of the Planning and Zoning Office from Gilbert Loewen to rezone an agri-rural area located south of Peabody to residential;

–?approved expenditure of $452.20 for a hip-vacuum to improve efficiency in cleaning the Courthouse offices.

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