ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion County Commission at its Dec. 23 meeting made progress in putting together the staff that will run the county’s newly acquired solid-waste transfer station.
Commissioners also continued discussion about how to handle budgeting in light of the governor’s cutback in state payments to counties and cities-although County Clerk Carol Maggard said the cutbacks may not be as severe as first expected.
Maggard said instead of having state funds cut by more than $300,000, the amount may be more like $174,000.
Although the news was welcomed, Commission Chairman Bob Hein noted, with a smile, “It’s still bad though.”
After a five-minute executive session with David Brazil, county zoning director and sanitarian who had been acting manager of the transfer station, the commissioners appointed him to the position permanently with a salary increase of $10,000 a year.
He was told to work hours “at your own discretion,” but commissioners admonished that the raise comes with an expectation that Brazil’s workload will now exceed a 40-hour work week. Hein said the increased work will probably add 10 hours a week.
Kevin Robinson, representing Robinson Trucking of Florence, met with commissioners to sign a contract that will pay by the mile for transport of solid waste from the transfer station to a landfill.
The contract originally read for transfer of waste to Rolling Meadows Landfill at Topeka, where trash currently is taken.
But at the request of Commissioner Leroy Wetta, the language was changed to a mutually agreeable site.
Darold Brewer was hired as equipment operator and Linda Johnson as equipment operator and environmental assistant.
Commissioners and Maggard explored ideas for transferring funds from county departments that have surpluses at the end of a year to general use to make up for potential shortfalls caused by state funding cuts.
Commissioner Howard Collett said county government may have to have the flexibility to do such things in the future.
Wetta, who raised the idea, suggested an accounting procedure might be developed where funds could be traced back to the department they came from, so they could again be used there. The idea isn’t to penalize a department for efficiency, he said.
Maggard said it might be accomplished with an informal spread sheet keeping track of money flow.
Wetta said the commissioners might want to explore the idea of some type of recovery fund.
Maggard said sometimes funds are in a department for a specific purpose that may continue into the next calendar year.
Collett said normal precautions will still need to be taken to make sure that funds-for example, those budgeted for Brazil and committee to complete the county zoning plan-are still there to complete projects.
Wetta said he wanted to go on public record that he is pleased with the activities of the planning and zoning board. He named Glen Unrau for reappointment on the board from his district.
Hein echoed Wetta’s sentiment, and named Ervin Ediger to the board.
Dale Snelling, park superintendent, reported that funds continue to come in from permits at Marion County Lake sufficient to meet needs, and that he is pleased the expected fish purchase will proceed because fishing brings in needed funding.
Sheriff Lee Becker met with commissioners in executive session to consider personnel.
Lloyd Davies of Great Plains Computers & Networking in Marion met with commissioners to discuss developing an interactive county Web site and the equipment and software upgrades needed to do it.
Davies explored possible wireless networking to allow departments remote from the courthouse to join the upgrade.
Davies said there is a need for improved imaging and integrating for the Register of Deeds Office in its central position, although cost would be a factor.