ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion County Commission Aug. 31 celebrated the report of a five-year high in monthly local sales tax collection that County Clerk Carol Maggard called “really, really good news”-but not without questioning how it came about.
Maggard reported that county sales taxes collected in June totalled $48,088, the highest monthly amount collected at least since 1999. The second-highest total occurred in May at $46,551.
The collection brought the sales total for 2004 to $343,677 or $54,097 ahead of this time last year.
It appears that 2004, barring disaster, the highest sales tax receipts will be the highest total in the past five years. The next highest total occurred in 2001, which was $463,611.
Commissioner Howard Collett wondered if Marion County is benefitting from the new destination Kansas sales tax, which directs that taxes be paid according to where a purchaser lives instead of where the goods are purchased.
Commissioner Bob Hein noted that this notion would seem to be supported by continued news from Saline County, which includes Salina. Government officials there expressed concerned about a decline in sales-tax revenue.
Commission Chairman Leroy Wetta said if this is the case, then Marion County should celebrate that dollars generated from within the county are being returned to the county.
Maggard will attempt to track sales tax to see where the money is coming from.
Taking note of efforts by Peabody-Burns Superintendent Tom Alstrom over the past two weeks to convince commissioners of the need to improve rural roads for bus routes in his school district, Goessel Superintendent John Fast came in with Richard Drake, a school board member, to make the same case for his district.
Fast said he is concerned with equitable treatment for all parts of the county. He noted that his bus drivers also face detours because of poor road conditions and dangerous pot holes, especially on one section of Moundridge Road 11/2 miles off Kansas Highway 15.
Acting County Road Superintendent Jim Herzet confirmed a report by Fast that in muddy weather, bus drivers must make a seven-mile detour to avoid two-thirds of a mile on 80th between Falcon and Eagle roads.
Wetta immediately interrupted Fast to point out that the problem areas Fast is concerned with were to be taken care of in the near future before the “Peabody question” ever came up.
Fast said he was reassured that the concerns he and his patrons had were going to be addressed.
Fast listed the following sections in particular need of attention:
— 90th between 30th and K-15, which is deteriorated with potholes;
— 120th between 30th and Alamo, excessively crowned with potholes and the scene of a car accident involving youth;
— 150th between K-15 and the 13-mile (Indigo) Road.
Payment for landfill closure
Maggard reported receiving a $20,000 check through Steve Pigg, one of the county’s attorneys from Topeka on solid waste matters. The payment was part of a settlement to the county paid from other parties on the state lawsuit to force county closing of the old landfill southwest of Marion.
The commissioners directed that the check be added to the solid-waste fund for the engineering needed to close the landfill.
The commissioners passed a resolution to enable survey work on opening a road gone unused west of Antelope between Ulysses and Wagon Wheel roads prior to a hearing Sept. 20.
In a teleconference with Scot Loyd, accountant and auditor for the county from McPherson, commissioners determined there was a possible lack of clarity in how money is to be allocated from capital outlay and road and bridge funds in a three-mill draw designed last week to avoid raising taxes for hard-surface roads near Peabody
Wetta moved to clarify the matter with a three-mill draw from the general fund to be added to road and bridge, but the motion died for lack of a second.
Collett and Hein said they didn’t want to do it that way, and preferred to let the budget stand as it is without required republishing of any amended section.
Noreen Weems, director of the department for the elderly, said the 44th annual meeting of Senior Citizens of Marion County Inc. will be Oct. 14 at Goessel AGAPE Senior Center. Ticket sales start Sept. 17.
Weems said her board has approved two mill levy requests for senior centers. One was for labor at $1,010 on a $2,516 total project for replacing a 43-feet-by-21-feet section of concrete at Hillsboro, where a person earlier had slipped on the icy, pitted surface.
The other approval was for $67.29 at Ramona for supplies to fix a restroom leak and related damage. Men from Ramona donated their labor.
Weems reported that Ruth Ann and Willis Penner of Hillsboro were judged to be the best models for grandparents who best “bridge the generations” for the North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging Senior Fair Sept. 21 at the Salina Bicentennial Center.
The Penners were chosen based on a nomination from their grandchildren, Adam and Amber Goossen, Sheldon and Shane Leppke, and Hannah, Isaac, Jessie and David Perry.
The commissioners awarded area fuel bids to Cardie Oil Co. of Tampa for 800 gallons of diesel in Area 1 at $1.2997 a gallon for $1,039.76; 2,150 gallons of diesel in Area 2 at $1.2997 a gallon for $2,768.98; 1,800 gallons of diesel in Area 3 at $1.3179 for $2,372.22; and 1,800 gallons of diesel in Area 4 at $1.3179 for $2,372.22.
The respective bids for the four areas from Cooperative Grain & Supply at Hillsboro were $1.3470 a gallon for $1,077.60, $1.3470 a gallon for $2,896.05, $1,3270 a gallon for $2,388.60 and $1.3370 a gallon for $2,406.60.