Commissioners thwarted from signing trash contract

Once again Monday the Marion County Commission could not conclude its interlocal agreement solid waste disposal contract with the cities of the county for collection of fees for the KC Development transfer station.

James Kaup, the attorney for the commission on this issue, said he hadn’t reworded the last draft because commissioners hadn’t given him the go-ahead to do so.

Commissioners met in executive session with County Attorney Susan Robson, and Kaup by conference call, at a special meeting last Thursday and again Monday.

Commission Chairman Leroy Wetta admitted to being frustrated with the delays Thursday, saying the contract only needed some “final clean-up language, but it is a rough draft, really rough.”

He said time is growing short with the first payment to KC due in November, and he told KC co-owner Rex Savage that he realized, “Rex, you do need the money.”

Savage replied, “You need the trash to go away, and I need the cash to come back to get it.”

Managers of several subsidized apartment complexes for low-income persons were on hand Monday to tell commissioners that something needed to be worked out to provide them a single commercial rate as is done for nursing homes. They said they are working with people who often have trouble coming up with rents as low as $15 per month.

Marion County residents would have trash picked up by cities or private haulers, and pay them, just as they do now under any agreement. The cities and haulers would pay a disposal fee of $6.25 a month for each residence and $10 a month for each business to the county which would act as the agency of payment to KC for everybody.

Rural residents who have no trash pickup service would still be free to dispose of their own solid waste with no fee payment, but would face county prosecution if caught disposing in a trash pickup of a KC customer.

Wetta said the agreement would be back on the county agenda for next Monday. Commissioner Bob Hein noted that even then it won’t be done. Hein said it will go back out to the cities for their signatures, and then back to the county for the commissioners to sign.

Cities included in the agreement are Burns, Durham, Florence, Goessel, Hillsboro, Lehigh, Lincolnville, Lost Springs, Marion, Peabody, Ramona and Tampa.

In other business, County Sanitarian David Brazil said he is receiving information indicating that the West Nile virus may be working its way west across the nation next summer from its first detected sites on the East Coast.

The disease is carried by birds and transferred to other species by mosquitoes that prey on them, he said. It is believed that birds migrating from this area will come into contact with birds from further east in southern wintering grounds, and possibly bring the disease back with them in the spring.

Brazil said humans infected with West Nile may experience an illness similar to “having the flu for a couple of days.” Only persons already rated as at risk are in more danger, he said.

However, horses are much more susceptible to complications from West Nile, and Brazil said infected areas could experience as high as a 40 percent death loss in horses.

Emergency Medical Services Director JoAnn Knak reported that third-quarter write-offs for failure of the public to pay ambulance call bills totaled $21,378 with $3,529 lost to personal bankruptcies.

Commissioner Howard Collett noted at that rate EMS could lose $80,000 in non-payments annually.

“If people don’t have health insurance, it doesn’t take long to drive them into bankruptcy,” he said. “I guess we have to take these hits along with the doctors, nurses and hospitals.”

The commissioners agreed 3-0 to contribute $1,070 to the Peabody ambulance crew for individual radios to top off a Peabody city contribution of $350.

Knak reported 23 ambulance calls for September in Hillsboro, 28 in Marion, seven in Peabody and nine in Tampa. There were four first-responder calls in Goessel, three in Lincolnville and two in Durham.

She said there are currently 12 EMT students, three from Marion, two from Hillsboro, one from Canton, two from Lincolnville, one from Tampa, and three from Florence.

She said classes on hazardous materials will be Oct. 23 and 25, and on defensive driving Nov. 13 and 15 with special participation by police, firemen and school bus drivers.

Knak said Marion County EMS is joining with the Kansas EMS Association in asking the state to review the low rate of Kansas Medicaid ambulance call reimbursement, which is $80 for an emergency call and $40 for a non-emergency call.

She said cost of an ambulance transport in Marion County as of

Aug. 31 was $358.

Gerald Kelsey, road and bridge director, told commissioners that contractors on the K-150 project are giving 40,000 to 50,000 tons of millings from the torn up highway surface to the county for distribution on county roads.

Collett noted that at an expected use of 500 tons per mile, the gift is enough to cover 80 miles of roads.

Kelsey said the county has an additional 23,000 tons of millings stockpiled with another 70,000 tons expected to be received from the reconstruction of U.S. Highway 77.

Collett noted that use of millings, ground to fines with small chunks mixed in, can save the county a lot on gravel purchases while creating road surfaces that are nearly like blacktop with little dust pollution. He said the millings are spread, bladed and rolled.

“It’s a pretty nice road,” he said.

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