ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion County Commission Monday approved a bid of $19,747.68 to replace a wrecked sheriff’s squad car with a Chevrolet Impala from Irv Schroeder’s at Hillsboro, but not without some explanation first from Chrysler dealer Doug Wright about why his cars shouldn’t be lumped without consideration in the same bidding process.
Sheriff Lee Becker said about $7,000 of the price will be offset by insurance money on the wrecked car, but commissioners approved the rest of the money coming from sales taxes.
Although the sheriff’s office will have $60,000 budgeted that could go toward squad cars in 2006, Becker explained that his budget is depleted this year because of the usual things he has no control over, such as court ordered activities and prisoner transports.
Alternative car bids came from Hillsboro Ford, $21,457 for a police interceptor Crown Victoria and $24,186 for a Charger.
Wright contended that Chrysler squad cars are higher priced for higher quality, and that recognition of their quality has increased lead time to get them in 160 days.
Becker confirmed that Wright is correct because other kinds of cars have had rear ends going out as well as other mechanical problems.With six squad vehicles over 150,000 miles, Becker said his office may be inclined toward more vehicle replacements in the near future.
Becker said he should get another $1,000 insurance money for equipment losses in the wrecked car including a shotgun that was in the trunk.
David Brazil, planning and zoning, environmental health and transfer station director, told commissioners the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has sent letters to Jack Chappelle, consulting engineer on closing the old Marion County Landfill, requiring such things as engineering stamps, certification pages and an added elevation.
Brazil said he believes Chappelle intends to fulfill the KDHE requests at no further charge to the county.
In a related development, County Clerk Carol Maggard said the State Board of Tax Appeals has changed the tax status of the landfill from delinquent to exempt, now that it is under county ownership.
The commissioners voted 3-0 to write off the books $767.94 in 2003 taxes and $118.64 in prorated 2004 taxes due from former landfill owners as uncollectible .
But Commissioner Dan Holub voiced some reservation.
“This thing has just cost us again,” he said.
Commission Chairman Bob Hein announced Roland Schmidt as the new county noxious weed and household hazardous waste director.
Commissioner Randy Dallke said he has been in consultation with landowners who had noxious weed measures done on U.S. Department of Agriculture cost sharing programs, and he said he believes misunderstandings on billings are being corrected.
Communications and Emergency Management Director Michele Abbott-Becker discussed end-of-year turnaround on grant funds, including a newly approved $125,900 grant for pictometry that will require the county to write a check to be reimbursed by the state in 14 days as part of the 911 cell-phone location program.
She will coordinate getting equipment with other departments involved, such as the appraisers office, which will use it for mapping property.
Abbott-Becker said her department receives an average $1,300 a month from cellular phone charges to help in the 911 program.
Her latest figures project 44,117 911 calls to Marion County dispatchers for 2005, 78.8 percent of which came from cellular phones.
Abbott-Becker said training las week on reacting to weapons of mass destruction in Anniston, Ala., paid for entirely by the federal government for county leaders, had proven worthwhile.
Cecil Aska, district court administrator, introduced Nikki Davenport as new court services officer.
The commissioners awarded a road and bridge transport fuel bid of $16,771.50 to Cardie Oil of Tampa over a bid of $16,946.50 from Cooperative Grain at Hillsboro.
They awarded a bridge steel bid of $79,943.58 to Wilborne Steel of Salina over a bid of $81,767.96 from Steel Supply of Manhattan. A bid from Salina Steel was disallowed because it didn’t include all required materials.
The commissioners awarded a bid of $2,537 for a laptop and computer upgrade for emergency medical services from Great Plains Computers of Marion over bids of $2,979.30 and $3,154.14 for different equipment combinations from the Computer Center at Newton.
Ambulance department bookkeeper Woody Crawshaw assured the commissioners that ambulance billings now are being kept current on a daily basis.
The commissioners met in executive sessions with Road and Bridge Director Jim Herzet and Appraiser Cindy Magill for personnel with no announcements in either case.