ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Marion County commissioners are ready to talk to parties involved about the damage done to the courthouse parking lot by a giant crane during courthouse rennovations, but the commissioners made it clear Monday they expect to come away with a parking lot as good as the new one they just had hard-surfaced.
The parking lot was redone with new entry ways to the street-upgraded on the south-as part of the Marion City Library/Depot project.
Then a crane was brought in this summer for work on the courthouse clock tower, and the “feet” that bore its weight are acknowledged by all parties as the instruments that pitted the parking lot.
County officials say it is “understood” by all parties that the damage from the crane isn’t considered purely to be the fault of the contractor on the project, Midcontinental Restoration Co. of Fort Scott, because the rented crane came without pads for the feet.
But Commission chairman Howard Collett said that when it comes to the damage done, the absence of the pads makes the company “negligent,” and responsible for the lot repair.
As far as the rennovation, County Clerk Carol Maggard said Midcontinental “did a really super job,” and the county wants to keep a good relationship with the company.
As far as repair, Commissioner Bob Hein seemed to be speaking the sentiments of the entire commission when he said, “I think the whole lot needs to be overlaid again, not just patched.”
Maggard said she expects to have a check cut to hand Midcontinental at the next meeting for $15,885 of the total $59,892 restoration bid. She said the company already has been paid $38,000, which would leave-after this next payment-$5,989.20 to be paid for work done.
Dan Hall of BG Consultants in Manhattan, the company that helped organize the rennovation for the county under a Heritage Fund State Historical Society grant, will attend next week’s meeting also.
Commissioner Leroy Wetta wanted Hall’s input on the commission agenda ahead of any “public negotiations” as commissioners look at the lot with company officials and an engineer.
The three commissioners expressed reservations about releasing payments until the lot repair work is done or a satisfactory commitment to do the work is received.
Maggard reported the county has sent a check for $1.016 million to the Kansas Treasurer’s Office to pay down bonds to save money.
Commissioners voted to approve the new comprehensive plan that David Brazil, zoning director, had been approved by the county planning commission with changes added from county commissioners.
They also voted to approve Brazil proceeding with directing consultants to prepare new zoning regulations to fit with the revised plan over the next year.
Among items covered in the plan is a new paragraph that recognizes windfarm electrical generation as a clean environmental alternative to be promoted in the county with appropriate site evaluation and rules to be included in zoning regulations or in an appropriate application for locating wind turbines.
The commissioners approved an application presented by Brazil to change zoning on 10 acres west of Hillsboro in section 36-19-1 from agricultural to rural residential to add to an existing two-acre tract for Lyle Issac.
Brazil said he has contacted one hazardous-materials removal company about cleaning out syringes and drug bottles from a cistern on the courthouse grounds, but needs to contact a second company for bidding.
Rocky Hett, attending the meeting as a public citizen, suggested the commissioners put SLAM signs that were thrown on his property during the landfill controversy of the last three years around the cistern.
Commissioners authorized Bill Smithhart, noxious weed and household hazardous waste director, to pay Clean Harbors of Wichita to pick up cubic yard containers rented from them at a cost of $690 each time the company takes a container away.
Smithhart said one container can hold 100 one-gallon cans of materials or 1,200 pounds or more of flammable liquids.
Smithhart told commissioners that after visiting other county noxious weed at the state fair, he is going to look at replacing 2,4-D for some roadside spraying to save money. Herbicides to consider, he said, might be Arsenal, which can take as little as two ounces per acre, or Plateau, which is safe to use next to crops in cotton growing areas.
Marion County has cotton, especially in the Peabody area.
Maggard said contractors have looked at their lease-purchase agreement with Marion County for $19,671 a year for the courthouse telephone system, and have been able to come up with $3,500 in savings off the contracted price.
The commissioners accepted a transport fuel bid from Cardie Oil of Tampa of $9,362 total for 3,500 gallons of diesel in No. 3 tank at $1.0924 a gallon for $3,123.40, 1,500 gallons of diesel in No. 1 tank at 0.8354 a gallon for $1,253.10, and 3,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline at $1.2247 for $4,286.45.