Lost Springs parties ask for help on fire district

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Representatives of the city of Lost Springs and Lost Springs Township settled on the services of Lester Kaiser Monday to help them figure out how to work out a joint fire district during a Marion County Commission meeting.

Kaiser is the fire chief at Lincolnville and the chairman of the Marion County Fire Chiefs Association.

Representatives of both township and city want the fire district to organize financing and services around a situation where most fire calls are into the township with its larger population and number of improvements while the city shares costs equally.

Concerns centered over how to tie finances together when the township in 2000 had an assessed valuation of $2,288,549 while the city had a valuation about one-tenth that at $206,908.

City representatives Frank Wirtz and Joe Alvarez said a 50-50 split in finances had been agreed to when a 70-30 township-city split or even less to the city would be more reflective of relative wealth.

Township representatives Bill Novak, Brad Pagenkopf and Bob Novak said their patrons are resistant to any increase in the mill levy.

Pagenkopf said the basic cost of a fire station in Lost Springs was $40,000 plus a few added expenses with each of the two governments paying $20,000. The two financed their shares separately through local banks, and have different payment plans.

Commissioner Leroy Wetta said the township and city should work out a joint agreement for sharing and financing before coming to the commission for approval of the proposed district.

Commission Chairman Bob Hein asked Kaiser if he was willing to help, and asked the representatives if they were willing to accept him with an affirmative reply in both cases.

Hein announced that Gene West, a former Wichita fireman, has been appointed to the Fire District #1 board for Durham Park and Moore Townships.

Karen Reynolds, ING representative, formerly Aetna, met with commissioners to describe how changes in the 457 law for positive pension reform makes roll-overs from tax-deferred plans for county employees easier.

Sheriff Lee Becker said the Marion County Jail housed an unusual number of 18 inmates over the weekend.

Becker said officers are counseling loaded semi-truck drivers that their traffic on county roads around the highway block for U.S. Highway 77/56 construction at Lincolnville is unwanted with the possibilities of meeting school buses and added wear and tear.

The commissioners approved annexation of a quarter-section north of Durham near 350th and K-15 into Rural Water District #1 to enable water service to a proposed new home for Bob Ware, a highway patrolman newly assigned to live in Marion County.

The commissioners approved bids submitted by Jeannine Bateman, county treasurer, for $779.79 for a computer monitor, $1,710.69 for a laser printer for quick return of tax receipts, and $3,080.00 for license-tag software.

Gerald Kelsey, road and bridge director, said officials rebuilding U.S. 77 have told him that Marion County will receive 12,000 to 13,000 tons of millings from the project with the balance to be given to Dickinson County.

Hein said Linda Ogden of Prairieview has requested that Marion County be listed as the applicant for the agency to receive grant money that can be used in abuse cases and for mental health-money that already is being received in Harvey and McPherson counties.

The commissioners agreed with the request in spirit, but Commissioner Howard Collett said the Commission needs a letter fully describing the grant before proceeding.

May 1 meeting

Marion County commissioners gave a “first heads up” that they aren’t totally sold on the updated draft of the four-county regional solid-waste plan Wednesday, May 1, at a payday meeting.

Commissioner Leroy Wetta said the plan needs to be “fine tuned for the direction we are going,” and as unified as possible.

Commissioner Howard Collett said he is concerned that Marion County is buying a transfer station that it wants to operate in the “most economical way possible,” and if the plan doesn’t take that into account, and proceeds with a landfill north of the county, it could make the transfer station eventually “obsolete” for use in some parts of the county.

“It could run up our costs,” he said.

Wetta added that the plan calls for proceeding on developments for a landfill with no financing or provisions for liability.

He said, “We could be buying a pig in a poke here. We don’t know what our costs are, and what the obligations for our county are. It may be like being asked to say yes in advance.”

Ed Davies and Bob Meisinger represented the Marion County Lake Road Committee before the commission to ask that the county begin maintenance on 2.8 miles of lake roads currently not maintained. They suggested that the county cover the roads with millings.

The committee was formed to research what should be done to the roads at the behest of commissioners after earlier meetings where maintenance was requested.

They noted actions back into the 1930’s that led to a variety of widths of roads being created along with a county commission decision from the 1980s that no road be accepted that doesn’t meet county standards for width and design.

Davies and Meisinger said the lake is one of the county’s most quickly developing areas with growing tax valuation, and road maintenance is needed for future development and public welfare.

The commissioners decided to review information, and contact the committee later with a decision.

Mike Wederski, director of community corrections, told commissioners that $25,000 in federal grant funds for juvenile surveillance will not be available for 2003, but could be covered through budget shifts.

He said four member counties in the corrections plan may still need to cover the $2,500 local contribution.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to allow Commission Chairman Bob Hein to sign an adult comprehensive plan for submission to the state presented by Wederski.

County Clerk Carol Maggard reported sales tax receipts for February were $30,639.20.

Maggard said she is working with Marty Fredrickson, Marion city street superintendent, and the County Road and Bridge Department to finalize construction of the parking lot south of the courthouse and new construction of Library Street.

The commissioners agreed to accept a gift from the city of Hillsboro of a communications and command center bus for emergency management developed by Wayne Lowry, retired Hillsboro fire chief.

The bus was to be temporarily parked for maintenance across from the jail. After that, road and bridge superintendent, Gerald Kelsey, would store it in the south county shop where it can periodically be started and maintained for operations at a moment’s notice.

Michele Abbott-Baker, emergency management director, said the bus has been “a valuable resource” in the past, being used for such things as a command post out of the weather for government officials during an airplane crash recovery.

The commissioners approved 3-0 alphabetizing lots for addresses in a development off 190th east of Hillsboro where entry is by easement road because sequential odd numbers for addressing have been used with an amendment from Collett that the approval doesn’t imply acceptance of the subdivision or its road.

The commissioners approved regional fuel bids for three areas of $3,513.60 to Cooperative Grain & Supply and for one area of $1,708.60 to Cardie Oil.

Kelsey presented a revised construction estimate on Bridge #242 below Marion Reservoir for $410,000 as part of the five-year bridge-building plan.

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