Commission to ask for 3-acre minimum for rural residences

The Marion County Commission Monday decided it will favor three-acre housing lots anywhere in the county in its letter to the Planning Commission.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said he definitely wants minimum three-acre rural residential plots rather than five acres because the extra two acres don’t accomplish anything.

Commissioner Bob Hein said he thinks most people are satisfied with the three, and that is sufficient for lagoon sewage development. He added, “A lot of farmers I talk to have three acres that doesn’t mean anything to them that they could sell off to let someone else build on.”

Holub said he also wants to do away with the one-in-40-acres density requirement in favor of language that allows 16 houses per section, a change that would allow the 16 anywhere in the section, even together.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said more common sense must be used because everything he sees in regulations for the county is geared for bigger cities, “and I don’t see any possibility that we are threatened with growing by leaps and bounds. Instead we are faced with possibly losing what we have.”

The commissioners decided the county burn ban should stay in place.

Concerning the recent vote in which the county turned down allowing casino gambling, Hein noted that Rep. Don Dahl of Hillsboro, who was against liberalizing gambling, was listed in last Friday’s Wichita Eagle as a legislator who was given $1,600 campaign funds over the years 2001-2005 by Harrah’s Casino and the tribes they are in league with north of Topeka.

Tampa Mayor Jim Clemmer and James Fells of Herington, who has served on regional solid waste efforts, discussed composting solid waste in combination with a recycling program to replace hauling solid waste to landfills.

Holub said the discussion would be one of several attempts by commissioners to discover the best way to dispose of trash in the county.

Fells showed videos of composting systems already operating in Iowa and Arizona. He said 40 to 48 percent of the waste stream normally is paper, which can effectively be composted if market demand is low for it as a recyclable.

He visited the transfer station after the meeting, and said it would easily adapt to composting.

The commissioners said Harvey County needs to find a user for electricity it might generate from incinerating waste before a plan offered there would be practical. They also said they would like to see what further benefit might be offered to Marion County from sending waste to Hårvey County for incinerator use.

The commissioners designated County Clerk Carol Maggard to act as county recipient for any complaints filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

They voted 3-0 to unencumber funds encumbered for County Attorney Susan Robson because her office was over budget for the year. They will discuss with Robson how to meet needs another way.

Dallke suggested each commissioner be responsible for keeping closer contact with two or three department heads to avoid situations where commissioners have not been aware what was happening in departments.

The commissioners decided to give Schilling Construction four extra working days, where the company is working under penalty phase at $1,000 a day in Peabody, because of extra time required in the short expanse for machinery turn-arounds and tie-ins to bridge and railroad as recommended by consulting engineers.

They accepted a road and bridge transport fuel bid of $17,292 from Cardie Oil of Tampa for 4,000 gallons diesel in tank 3 at $2.27 a gallon, 2,000 gallons diesel in tank 1 at $2.01 a gallon and 2,000 gallons unleaded gasoline at $2.03 a gallon.

They accepted a bid of $599 from Baker Furniture of Peabody over a bid of $968.76 from The County Seat of Marion for carpeting in the noxious weed office.

They asked Noxious Weed Director Rollin Schmidt to evaluate the status of his department as well as to do extra planning where department equipment and labor has been asked to do rougher work on private land than private applicators are willing to do.

Schmidt also is to further develop planning for musk thistle and roadside tree controls.

Appraiser Cindy Magill asked commissioners to take further steps to try to halt a legislative bill favored by the governor that would tax exempt industrial personal and heavy industrial property. She said rural counties won’t be able to stand the money losses without raising mill levies to place further burden on land and home owners.

Maggard reported county cash on hand at the Tuesday, Jan. 17, meeting, at $13,386,585 with $805,180 in the county general fund and $764,038 in road and bridge.

Brunner Construction of Marion was awarded a bid of $15,070 for courthouse reconstruction work following mold abatement over competing bids of $16,954 from Jantz Construction of Tampa and $24,088 from CWC Construction of Wichita.

The commissioners turned down a request from Sam’s Club to distribute promotional one-day guest pass cards to county employees with pay checks.

They approved purchase for $1,497 of a computer by Robson to give access to the courthouse prosecutor system.

Maggard said $11,547.79 in back taxes have been collected on parcels listed for tax sale.

Peggy Blackman, watershed restoration coordinator, told commissioners a meeting of mayors is warranted to discuss participation in grant funds to halt sedimentation of Marion Reservoir. She hoped to hear further news from Rep. Jerry Moran during his tour at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Hillsboro city building.

Blackman said there is a growing number of proposals to help the reservoir, including even an additional structure across it to raise the upper water level for further oxygenation and to prevent travel of sediment into the main pool.

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