County enacts moratorium on wind projects

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
On Monday the Marion County Commission approved a six-month moratorium on any possible zoning applications for wind generators of electrical power.

David Brazil, zoning director, proposed the moratorium, which was made retroactive to this date from a future date when guidelines for the generators might be in place.

Brazil explained he isn’t opposed to wind generators, but “I would like to see a new comprehensive plan in place and zoning regulations for wind generators before I see any applications for them.

“We need to see how we will address the new land uses of wind farms with how we want to maintain our open spaces.”

Brazil, who also is managing organization of the transfer station being purchased by the county from KC Development, was directed by the Commission to begin advertising for a station equipment operator.

Although it was deemed desirable to retain the KC operator, commissioners said county employment standards make it necessary to advertise the position.

Brazil was also told to investigate taking immediate waste traport bids, possible purchase of a semi trailer and of other operational equipment.

Commissioners contemplated the budget difficulties they may face after receiving a Kansas Association of Counties announcement that a $48 million cut by Gov. Bill Graves from $96 million in demand transfer funds to cities and counties authorized by the Legislature from the state will begin with elimination of a city-county revenue sharing fund payment due Dec. 10.

Michele Abbott-Becker, emergency managment and communications director, told commissioners the trend toward more cellular telephone use for 911 calls is continuing.

Cellular 911 calls were nearly double the number of land line 911 calls in November to Marion County dispatchers at 409 compared to 229.

Abbott-Becker said the number of calls can be misleading in significance because sometimes 5 to 10 calls may be received reporting the same highway accident.

Dispatchers also had 2,651 incoming calls and 1,144 outgoing calls in November that were not 911 calls. Abbott-Becker said they could concern such things as incoming calls reporting cattle that were out, and outgoing calls trying to locate the cattle’s owners.

County Clerk Carol Maggard reported the latest county portion of the sales tax collected in October for September sales is $41,135.04.

The commissioners approved Bill Smithhart, noxious weed director, going with the low bids on a list of new equipment for the department’s 1-ton truck with a possible exception.

Commissioners Leroy Wetta and Howard Collett agreed that spray booms are damaged too easily to go with a lightly built one, so they want Smithhart to examine quality before buying.

Low bids were $455.50 from Ag Service at Hillsboro for a 400-gallon tank, $656 from Westheffer Supply at Lawrence for a foam marker with 20-gallon tank, $661 from Schaben at Newton for a 25-foot folding boom assembly, $580.41 from Schaben for a Honda 5.5 hp electric start pump engine and pump, $1,441.34 from Schaben for a Raven 440 console with cables, valve and meter.

The commissioners began the meeting in executive session with County Attorney Susan Robson, and ended in teleconference executive session with Jim Kaup, Topeka attorney representing the county in solid waste issues, with no announcements.

Meeting in an earlier Nov. 27 payday meeting, the commissioners were told by Sheriff Lee Becker that there were 19 prisoners in the jail, and 3 more Marion County prisoners being kept in Rice County at a cost of $40 each per day.

Becker said the county jail has a capacity for 11 prisoners. Problems are compounded by part of the prisoners being women requiring seperate housing.

Becker said he had checked for space in neighboring counties, but all are full. The problem has been compounded with the Sedgwick County Jail being at 300 to 400 over capacity.

Becker blamed the increase in prisoners at the jail in recent years at least in part to increasing temptations to gain financially from drug manufacturing and sales.

Commissioners awarded Cardie Oil of Tampa a bid of $6,325.53 for 6,550 gallons of diesel in four Road and Bridge Dept. tanks over a bid of $6,583.55 from Cooperative Grain.

Larry Buller was given permission by commissioners to locate 4.5-foot concrete sign posts on the back slopes of ditches on the north sides of county roads marking the Chisholm Trail in an effort that now extends from Texas to Abilene.

Gerald Kelsey, road and bridge director, said the county would reserve the right to remove and reinstall signs when grading ditches.

Brazil was authorized to purchase a 1989 pickup truck with 84,000 miles on it for not over $4,000 for use at the transfer station and in sanitarian inspections.

Kaup, conferring with commissioners in open session by telephone, said Commission Chairman Bob Hein and he had agreed that offering discount on bonds for purchase of the transfer station would save the county money over the long run by bringing in more bidders. Wetta and Collett agreed.

Kaup recommended, and commissioners accepted, a closing time for the transfer station deal of 1:15 p.m. Dec. 19 to take advantage of banks’ abilities at that hour to wire money.

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