Payday, encumbrance requests top last agenda for 2005

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
At the Friday payday meeting of the Marion County Board of Commissioners-the board’s second meeting of the week-commissioners authorized their employees’ final paychecks for 2005 and approved departmental requests for encumbered funds.

County Clerk Carol Maggard reported a payday figure of $866,062. Later in the meeting, commissioners approved encumbrance requests totaling about $228,282 to pay for projects and purchases authorized from the 2005 budget but to paid for in 2006.

Maggard reported that she figured the final cost of the county’s mail-in referendum regarding a casino in Marion County to be $8,423. She noted it came in under budget but that her figure did not include her time in the project.

Maggard reported the November sales-tax collection for October sales was $40,581, down from the total for the two previous years. But the total figure for the past 12 months shows an increase from last year, she added.

Just prior to adjournment, Commissioner Dan Holub suggested that a public meeting be called soon to hear input from citizens in regard to setting priorities for the county in the coming year.

Holub listed economic development, road maintanence and the possibility of building a new county jail among the issues that are on the horizon.

“When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” he said. “I’d like to see us develop a plan.”

Holub said he was “terrified” at the prospect of the budget planning process later in the year because it seems certain that the effort to balance the county’s budget will be even more difficult in 2006 than it was in 2005.

“We’re either going to be cutting services or jacking up taxes again,” he said. No action was taken on Holub’s call for a public meeting.

In other matters, the commission:

  • reappointed Don Freuchting to another term as Marion County’s representative on board of Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging.
  • approved canceling nine checks totaling $191.86 that were never returned or cash by the people to whom they were written to over the past two years.
  • reviewed a report showing that the county’s year-end valuation stood at $97,544,573, which continued a downward trend from the beginning figure for December of $97,646,857.
  • accepted a combined fuel bid of $13,418.45 from Cardie Oil of Tampa for the county’s four refueling areas. Cooperative Grain & Supply based in Hillsboro submitted a bid of $13,586.55.
  • signed documents from the Kansas Department of Transportation formally authorizing the construction of a new bridge 1.8 miles north of Lehigh on Diamond Road. The project is part of the county’s five-year bridge plan. Bids for the project will be let Feb. 18.
  • heard from Road and Bridge director Jim Herzet that two new employees have been hired in his department: Mark Schale as an asphalt distributor operator, and Wade Knust as a heavy-equipment operator.
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