Sales tax continues upward trend, county clerk reports

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
County Clerk Carol Maggard handed the Marion County Commission good economic news Monday at its payday meeting with a report that sales taxes continue an upward trend.

Maggard said December sales taxes, collected in January and distributed in February, totaled more than $45,000 for Marion County compared to about $38,400 a year ago.

The figure put collections about $8,000 ahead of this time last year.

Figures provided by Maggard showed the last time the county finished ahead over the previous year in sales tax collections was in 2001 at about $12,000 ahead.

In 2003 the county finished $4,500 behind the previous year and in 2002 the decline was at about $4,200.

Maggard announced receipt of a notification from the Kansas State Historical Society that the Bouchet school east of Florence on U.S. Highway 50 has been placed on the National Register of Historical Places.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to repeat an annual contribution of $100 to the Marion Lake Association, which promotes use of Marion Reservoir.

David Brazil, planning and zoning, environmental health and transfer station director, handed commissioners the first several chapters of the rough draft of new zoning regulations based on the latest comprehensive plan developed last year-with special attention to allowing more rural housing.

Brazil said one section in the draft targets wind energy developments for electrical generation.

He added there are also provisions for a uniform building code in areas of urban influence.

The commissioners said it would take some time for them to read through the draft, and “pick it apart.”

The commissioners approved three rezoning of small acreage from agricultural to rural residential in section 10-18-3 northwest of Pilsen, in section 4-20-2 west of Hillsboro, and in section 10-21-3 south of Aulne.

The commissioners accepted a bid of $45,900 for a new transfer station semi-trailer from Wilkins at Stockton, even though there was a lower bid of $43,760 from J&J of Somerset, Penn. They explained that the Kansas company would back its guarantees with repairs at the factory in Kansas, while the Pennsylvania company would contract out repairs to other companies, a situation they judged not to be as beneficial.

They turned down an alternate offer of a refurbished trailer from Wilkins at $34,900 because the interior metal structures may be deteriorated.

Brazil will check on refurbishing one of the station’s two existing trailers when the new one comes in. The commissioners directed him to seek bids on an air compressor to operate tools for doing as much work on trailers as possible at the transfer station.

The voted 2-1 to not have Brazil seek a grant for recycling paper on the basis that the grant only provided for equipment, and not labor, and that a recycling effort should include plastic and glass if it is to be done at all.

Commissioner Howard Collett dissented because he favored studying the feasibility longer before making a decision.

Commission Chairman Leroy Wetta cited a mandatory recycling program with curb pickup in Peabody as an example of excellence saying that if the county did a program, “we have to do it right.”

The commissioners acknowledged that recycling remains a long-term goal for the county.

Brazil asked the commissioners to support Kansas House Bill 2112 that would allow a county sanitarian such as himself to write a citation that could go directly to court for enforcement without going through the county attorney.

The commissioners appointed Gary Unruh to fill an unexpired term on the board of Durham Township.

Warren Kreutziger, owner of Canada Bait Shop, asked commissioners to allow him to sell beer on Sundays, noting the county would gain taxes from the sales, and that in 10 years of business, he has had no alcohol sales problems.

Collett said the Commission has no experience with knowing whether it can authorize sales of 3.2 percent cereal malt beverage sales on Sunday and said a check would need to be made with the county attorney before any decision is made.

The commissioners invited Kreutziger to investigate the law for any opinion he might find.

Bill Smithhart, noxious weed director, presented an annual contract renewal with the Kansas Department of Transportation for weed control on highways that the commissioners approved at rates of $80 an hour for equipment and $11.89 an hour for the operator.

The commissioners authorized County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman to enter into an agreement with Sedgwick County for a Web site based tax estimation service for vehicles at a cost of $224 set-up and $250 annually.

Bateman said the service will allow county residents to come to the courthouse to see what taxes will be on a new automobile before buying it and to do comparisons between tax costs on their old vehicle compared to a new one.

The commissioners awarded area fuel bids to Cooperative Grain of Hillsboro in areas one, three and four for 800 gallons of diesel at $1.085 a gallon for $868, for 1,800 gallons at $1.085 a gallon for $1,953, and for 1,800 gallons at $1.085 a gallon for $1,953.

Cardie Oil of Tampa was awarded the bid for area two for 2,150 gallons of diesel at $1.0947 a gallon for $2,353.60.

Cardie’s comparable bids in areas one, three and four were $1.1047 a gallon for $883.76, $1.1147 a gallon for $2,006.46, and $1.1197 a gallon for $2,015.46.

Cooperative’s bid for area two was $1.105 a gallon for $2,375.75.

Noreen Weems, director of the department for the elderly, reported that the board of The Senior Citizens of Marion County approved $450 for the Marion Senior Center to help offset costs of $884 in property insurance after the Center has had to contend with high cold weather utility bills.

Lanell Hett, seniors secretary and transportation coordinator, reported nine trips for February, five of them health related. The next transportation committee meeting is at 9 a.m. March 10 at the Marion Senior Center.

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