County approves interlocal agreement for trash payments

The Marion County Commission Monday approved 3-0 an interlocal agreement between itself and the cities of the county to accept payment of solid waste disposal fees that go to KC Development, waste transfer operators.

Commission Chair Leroy Wetta said the agreement now will be sent with a cover letter written by commissioners with help from their attorney, James Kaup, seeking signatures of approval from all the cities.

If the cities return the agreement signed, it will enable the county to make a November payment, thus proceeding with honoring the final five years of a 10-year contract with KC after months of searching for a solution.

Commissioners also approved 3-0 a resolution setting out the licensing requirements for solid-waste collecting companies that operate in the rural areas and in cities that don’t do trash collections.

The companies would pay an annual $50 fee to the county, including $25 inspection fee and $25 licensing fee. It would be renewable each December, with the first year that begins in November not ending until December 2002, to avoid the inconvenience of a one-month term.

Commissioner Bob Hein replied, to a suggestion that the fees might be high, that $50 “isn’t much” in this situation. The agreements followed executive sessions with commissioners, Kaup by telephone, and County Attorney Susan Robson.

The commission delayed final approval after the morning session, opting to continue with it at 2 p.m., to give time for Kaup to reword some sections.

Just as happened last week, managers of subsidized low-income apartment units appeared before the commission to contend that their residents generate such low volumes of trash that they would be unfairly penalized if expected to pay separately as individual homes instead of together as a commercial account like a rest home.

Wetta acknowledged that some persons could pay unfairly in the attempt to get the agreement done.

Commissioner Howard Collett said not every aspect might be dealt with Monday because an action needed to be taken to proceed in a timely manner with the contract.

Commissioners suggested that status as a residence might be determined by whether it had a full kitchen as defined by whether it had a cooking range.

The housing managers noted that many elderly residents only use a microwave, and otherwise utilize subsidized meal services.

The managers objected to a clause that would have waste disposal fees stop after three months of an apartment being vacant.

After Collett said he agreed the managers had a good objection the commissioners changed the clause to one month of vacancy although they were concerned that dealing with it each month might make work more difficult for city clerks.

Jan Moffitt, county health department administrator, told commissioners her department is receiving a grant for $40,373 from the Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority and the Kansas Advisory Group.

The grant would enable extension of a program to help parents “be your child’s best teacher” for children ages 0-3 that already has a waiting list of 30 families interested. The program coordinates activities of such agencies as the health department, Head Start and the schools.

Michele Abbott-Becker, director of communications and emergency management, told commissioners her department has been able to acquire a new weather-check-line for $17 a month that county residents can call in toll free to check conditions on highways and county roads.

The line will also tell road-closings information. She said it is designed to take a phone-answsering load off busy dispatchers who often answer 60 to 100 public enquiries daily during bad-weather events.

The toll-free number for the line is 1-866-786-7625, or it can be remembered as 1-866-WEATHER CK.

Rick Lopez Jr. read a statement to the commission asking for consideration for two months severance pay following his termination as courthouse caretaker.

Bill Smithhart, noxious weed director, said a household hazardous waste-collection effort he administered during Goessel’s city clean-up Oct. 6 had brought 646 pounds of waste from 15 participants, including 22.6 pounds of pesticides, 68.5 pounds of oil-based paint, 15 pounds of latex paint, 60 pounds of corrosive, 54 aerosol cans and 60 gallons of used motor oil.

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