Storm shelter may meet need for wireless protection

Perhaps a storm shelter-such as those manufactured at Canton-could provide the heated and air-conditioned sturdy building needed to complete the wireless emergency communication project for Marion County, said Commissioner Howard Collett at Monday’s Marion County Commission meeting.

“At least,” Commission Chairman Leroy Wetta said, “it would stay at a constant 55 degrees” underground.

Communications and Emergency Management Director Michele Abbott-Becker said Western Wireless, which is allowing the county the use of its tower two miles west of Marion on 190th, doesn’t want the county also to use its utilities shed at the site.

She explained that besides requiring utilities, the shed must be a concrete or reinforced metal structure, able to withstand ice or other materials that might fall on it from hundreds of feet up the tower.

She suggested that a storm shelter “might be obtained at a quarter of the usual price, too. It might be something we’ll want to move in another 10 years.”

Abbott-Becker and the commissioners will continue to research the need for the project that will help 911 operators pinpoint the locations of cellular calls.

The commissioners also passed three resolutions, two of them brought to their attention by Abbott-Becker last week-but not without reservations.

Concerning a mutual aid resolution relating to Marion County assisting other counties in time of disaster, Collett questioned who would be responsible for injuries to county personnel responding.

“I hate to see one of our guys breath something or contact something damaging with it not defined who is responsible,” he said.

Abbott-Becker said normal county coverage would take care of employees, except in cases where negligence by another party could be shown. Employees, such as fire fighters, would also only do what they are trained to do, she said.

“We don’t have any haz-mat team here,” she added.

This resolution related to the next one, Abbott-Becker said, which designated authority to the county-and fire districts and departments within it-to recover costs for hazardous materials cleanups from those responsible.

Abbott-Becker said the state pursues such costs vigorously, as in a case two weeks ago during a spill in the county when the party responsible was attempting to avoid the costs, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment stepped in “to say, guess what, you’re responsible.”

Commissioners hesitated at a proclamation declaring the month of April as “Fair Housing Month,” as requested by the state. After voting to approve it 3-0, Collett moved to post it on the bulletin board rather than publish it in the county’s four newspapers at a cost of approximately $30 each.

Wetta, with Collett’s permission, amended the motion to only publish the proclamation in the Marion County Record, the county’s legal publication, noting that only minimal public notice is required.

County Clerk Carol Maggard announced that all solid waste assessment appeals have been processed, with letters ready to go out to both residential and commercial customers who asked for action.

Maggard noted that some appeals were from persons who wanted residences at the county lake or the reservoir to receive only partial assessment as vacation homes, an action that largely was denied.

David Brazil, director of planning and zoning, environmental health, and the transfer station, gave monthly budget reports to Feb. 29 for the three departments that came within percentages required for two months.

With the transfer station beginning to enter its second year of operation, Brazil noted that of the nearly $582,000 budgeted for this year, the station has used close to $40,000, which included nearly $25,000 for February.

The facility had February income for commercial and demolition waste of about $1,160, white goods of $135 and tires of $78.

The station processed 435.14 tons of waste in February, 961.76 tons for the year, with 24 hauls in February and 53 to date, a little over 18 tons average for each
transfer to the landfill east of Topeka.

The commissioners approved a bid of $739 from Marion Auto Supply for a 10-horsepower air compressor for the transfer station.

With Commissioner Bob Hein noting it was the most cost effective, long-term solution to protect mothers and babies visiting the county health department building in downtown Marion from intense window heat, the commissioners approved installation of 80 percent heat screening solar guard film on seven windows for $1,300 by Matt’s Detail Shop of Newton.

Jan Moffitt, administrator for the health department, said the alternatives were to repair the awning, mechanism and bolt attachments on the downtown building at a bid price of $785, or replace them at a bid price of $1,216, both bids from Ash Enterprises Inc.

The commissioners approved an area fuel bid for Cardie Oil of Tampa for $10,372.50, which included 5,000 gallons of diesel in area three at $1.2998 a gallon for $6,499.00, 1,000 gallons of diesel in area one at $1.0439 a gallon for $1,043.90, and 2,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline at $1.4148 a gallon for $2,829.60.

Gerald Kelsey, road and bridge director, said Richie Paving of Wichita, the company awarded the bid for tearing up and resurfacing of U.S. Highway 77 from Marion south to the county line, will sell and haul the asphalt millings recovered from the project to the county at $3 a ton, stockpiling them on Kansas Department of Transportation property at Florence.

Kelsey said this is a good deal for the company and for the county, which should receive approximately a two-year supply of 20,000 to 25,000 tons, with good proximity to needed county road upgrades near Peabody, something that also will reduce dust problems for residents there.

He explained that the company is no longer allowed to bury millings along highway renovation right-of-way, but instead receives state money for hauling them, plus what it can receive from entities such as the county.

Kelsey said his department is reviewing bridge needs to include in a five-year plan that must be submitted to the state by April 21.

In meeting with Mike Wederski, director of community corrections, the commissioners approved reappointment of Demitry Evancho and Sandy Berg as adult representatives to June 2005, and Berg as juvenile representative to June 2007.

The commissioners said they will direct County Attorney Susan Robson to consult with Geary County in response to a question brought up to Wederski by the insurers of Geary County as to who is responsible in a possible former employee litigation against community corrections.

Community corrections operates under interlocal agreement for four counties, but is under the auspices of Geary County, Wederski said, but KCAMP, the insurance carrier for Geary, is questioning whether it should carry full responsibility.

Maggard wondered if responsibility might be determined as it is with workman’s compensation cases, to whomever writes the paychecks.

The commissioners agreed to discuss whether to hire an economic development director at 11:20 a.m. April 5.

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