County opts to remove hazardous materials with own crew

The Marion County Commission Monday chose to turn away from a proposal to have a hazardous material removal company clean medical wastes-including hypodermic needles-found in an old cistern south of the courthouse.

Instead, the commission decided the county will use a special waste container and its own road and bridge crew to do the job.

David Brazil, sanitarian, zoning and transfer station director, said a hazardous materials company had sent in an estimate of $6,000 to do the job to satisfy Kansas Department of Health and Environment standards.

Brazil researched and found an alternative where the county could rent a 20 cubic yards trash Dumpster with a tie-shut seal, similar to a “giant trash bag.” The road and bridge crew could bring in a backhoe to remove the waste to the Dumpster at a price Brazil estimated would be half or less that of an outside company.

After the materials were removed, they would be taken to the Hamm Landfill east of Topeka, where they would be deposited under a special waste authorization, Brazil said.

The only drawbacks, Brazil said, would be that a valued redbud tree on the courthouse lawn would have to be removed, and there probably would be some disruption of electric lines.

He said the hazardous material company, Integrated Solutions, would have brought in a crane to reach over the tree and lines while suspending a man on a platform into the cistern to put the materials into 55-gallon containers that would be sealed.

Brazil said the materials in the cistern were believed to have been deposited in the cistern by county personnel before the late 1970s, and before current state regulations were in force.

Brazil also brought in a contract for commissioners to study for a company to complete zoning regulations under the new county comprehensive plan.

Brazil said trailer tires on the transfer station’s truck equipment were becoming worn smooth. He said he could wait until next spring to replace them when he could perhaps get a more advantageous bid by placing them with the county’s road and bridge order.

In this case, the commissioners decided to accept a bid from Leith Inc. for $3063.36 for 16 new tires instead of risking running the old tires longer.

County Clerk Carol Maggard told commissioners that the resurfacing repairs to the courthouse parking lot, which was damaged by a giant crane during courthouse renovation, should be finished by the end of October. She said Mid-Continental of Fort Scott, the restoration company, has agreed to pay for the damaged areas.

Cori Adair, Bill Gray and Beth Gray, owners of Total Success Services Inc. that serves disabled persons in Marion County under the auspices of Northview Development Services Inc., came to get acquainted with commissioners, and suggest a different distribution of mill levy tax money.

Bill Gray said his company has a relationship similar to being a subcontractor under Northview. The 18 TSS staff members who serve 32 persons in Marion and Harvey counties are those who go in to provide the disabled assistance such as residential support service, home care and job help.

At the same time, Adair said most tax money for support of the private organization comes from federal Medicaid claims, and no new patients are coming in from Northview.

In reply to a question from Commissioner Leroy Wetta, Gray said Northview is aware of this.

Gray said the group’s purpose in coming to the commissioners is “to make you aware of this.” He asked that consideration be given to dividing existing county dollars between providers instead of “letting it go to line some CEO’s pocket.”

The commissioners said they wouldn’t be raising the mill levy, and the TSS group said they didn’t expect them to in a tight budget time, but, instead only wanted “their share.”

Jan Moffitt, county health administrator, told commissioners she has completed the federally required county plan for smallpox vaccination, and received the final $9,649 from federal bioterrorism funds. Moffitt said she hoped the plan never would be carried out.

Moffitt said her department has received more than $29,000 in various grants for the year, and she is trying for more.

Dianna Carter, county appraiser, and Jeannine Bateman, county treasurer, reported to commissioners that there have been 3,925 users of the Marion County Web site in the last three months with 65 percent of the hits on parcel search and current tax values.

The county site is at

Carter also reported that county real estate valuations for the last six months are coming in at indexes of 100.1 for commercial property and 100 for residential property. She explained that this means the actual sales show they were 100 percent correct for residential, but the valuation for commercial property was only slightly less than actual sales.

Gerald Kelsey, road and bridge director, said a 2,000-gallon brine tank with valves for winter treatment of county hard-surface roads would cost $2,500.

He explained that purchase of two tanks, each of which would be hauled by tandem truck, might be wise because one could be used in the county’s north end and the other in the south with saved mileage making an actual savings.

Kelsey said rain often precedes ice in Kansas weather, and sometimes part of the pre-treatment brine is washed away, making an added need for treatment during an event.

The commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of two tanks.

Kelsey asked about policy of treating entire road lengths, or only treating most affected road intersections at times.

Commissioner Wetta said he thought very little was saved since trucks had to travel entire road lengths to get there anyway, so the whole roads should be treated.

The other commissioners agreed.

The commissioners approved a bid of $9,086 from Cardie Oil of Tampa for transport fuel, including 3,000 gallons diesel at $1.2074 a gallon in tank No. 3, 2,000 gallons diesel at $0.9399 a gallon in tank No. 1, and 3,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline at $1.1949 a gallon.

Deanne Nelson of the Sexual Assaults and Domestic Violence Center Inc. at Hutchinson asked commissioners to sign a proclamation of October as domestic violence awareness month, which they did.

She said for Marion County in 2002, there were 57 incidents of domestic violence with 24 arrests that included four rapes.

She said assaults happen against women, children, the elderly and men, and that every person deserves peace and safety in the home.

The commissioners signed a letter of support for tax exemption on all Marion County senior centers to the State Board of Tax Appeals.

At the September 30 payday meeting, Maggard gave commissioners a payday warrants figure of $584,325.53.

She reported a sales tax collection for July of $41,266.44, which after months of sales tax decline, was the highest collected since 1997.

Commissioner Bob Hein said, “That really helps us.”

Maggard said the figure compared to $33,468.58 a year ago, with an annual total to date of $330,845.60, down $10,231.18 from a year ago.

Mid-Continental Restoration sent a letter on the damaged courthouse parking lot-outlining prices for repairs from APAC of $1,102 to mill and patch depressed areas, $167.00 to mill and patch rutted areas, and $1,187 to apply seal coat and re-stripe. The company agreed to pay for the more expensive first and last areas because of damage done by its crane.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to include over-the-counter drugs in employee medical benefits.

The commissioners approved a letter of support for an increase in grant funding for the Marion Reservoir water quality protection project.

Darryl Thiesen of Goessel was named to succeed Joann Knak, retiring emergency medical services director, at a salary of $2,333.33 a month.

Commission chairman Howard Collett read a certification award for Michele Abbott-Becker from the Kansas Emergency Management Association for her achievements in reaching the “highest standards of professionalism.”

The commissioners authorized Abbott-Becker and Mark Grabar of TBS Electronics, acting as consultant, to begin phase one of an upgrade to emergency communications in the county. The first section of the plan would include repeaters, mobiles and handheld radios for fire departments in Hillsboro, Lehigh, Durham, Ramona, Tampa, Lost Springs and Lincolnville.

The equipment would be funded at 75 percent from 911 funds, and at 25 percent from each department’s funds, Abbott-Becker said.

When the project is completed fire, she said, emergency medical and law enforcement personnel will be able to communicate with each other on a uniform system.

The commissioners approved the county emergency operation plan, and authorized the purchase of 33 copies of the plan-at a cost of $45 a copy-to be distributed to all department heads and city officials.

The commissioners approved replacement of the 911 server for $5,659 to come from 911 funds from Great Plains Computers & Networking, Marion.

The commissioners agreed to sign a quit claim deed to the Kansas Department of Transportation on 4.1 acres that formerly was on old U.S. Highway 77 north of Lincolnville that was inadvertently deeded to the county.

Gerald Kelsey, road and bridge director, said KDOT plans to auction the land to help satisfy land divisions that have inconvenienced farmers.

The commissioners split approval for bids on area fuel giving Cardie Oil areas one and two for $2,662.11, and Cooperative Grain areas three and four for $3,292.56.

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